What is the theme of the final section of "Ode to the West Wind"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind" honors the prowess of the wind as "Destroyer and preserver"; the wind drives away Autumn, but it also contributes to the regenerative process of Spring. Further, the "Wild Spirit" connects to the imaginative powers of the poet himself.

In Stanzas IV and V, Shelley muses 

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power and share....

...and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,

The poet wonders if the West Wind can also regenerate and inspire his work.  As a "leaf"  on the wind, the poet might be able to transform his verses by sending them "over the universe" where they can "quicken a new birth!" Thus, the theme of the last two stanzas unites man with nature:  Just as the West Wind can carry away the dead leaves and assist the regeneration of nature, so, too, can this wind assist Shelley in his lifelong mission in communicating his response to life and creating an impact upon life. 

 

 

 

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