Where does the west wind come from in Shelley's Ode to the West Wind? What kind of emotions does the poet feel when hears the west wind blow?

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In Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind," the wind comes from autumn itself. Shelley calls it the "breath of Autumn's being." In the poem, Shelley moves from emotions of mourning to emotions of hope, all brought on by watching the west wind blow.

In the first two stanzas, Shelley feels the sadness that comes with autumn and the knowledge that winter is not far away. Shelley uses multiple images of death to express his bleak emotions about autumn's leaves, which are blown from the trees by the west wind: they are

"dead  ... Pestilence-stricken multitudes ... they lie cold and low, Each like a corpse within its grave ... 

In contrast, in the third stanza, Shelley's emotions are nostalgic as he remembers the warmth of summer, when the shores of the Mediterranean were "overgrown with azure moss and flowers/So sweet, the sense faints picturing them!"

By stanzas four and five, Shelley moves back to the present and longs for his words to be blown around by the west wind like autumn's leaves. If in the first two stanzas the poet's emotion is that of mourning the death the leaves represent, by the last two stanzas his mood has changed from grief to desire. Now he wishes for a force like the west wind to spread his words--his poems and essays-- far and wide. As he writes,

 

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!

If we remember that Shelley was a radical, we can see that in the first stanzas, he identifies and sympathizes with the "leaves" as representatives of the working class whose struggle for rights was being broken and shattered by the English upper class as he was writing. But by the end, the leaves have turned into his words, which, if they are circulated, gain power and carry the potential for change.

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