Since escapism and optimism are far from being opposites, it is safe to say that they are both active in Percy Bysshe Shelley's “Ode to the West Wind.”
The West Wind blows autumn and winter across the landscape. The leaves flee before it, as do the “winged seeds.” The latter seem to lie in their graves, but they will awaken come spring, and herein lies part of the poem's optimism. The West Wind may bring the apparent death of winter, but it also makes way for the new life that will come with the spring.
What's more, even in the storminess of the West Wind, there is much beauty. The Mediterranean comes alive with a fantastic elegance and power. The “angels of rain and lightning” spread across the sea, and they are terrifying but majestic and awe-inspiring as well. There is both fear and wonder, and this, too, is optimistic. Nothing is completely negative or terrifying; there is something amazing mixed in as well.
In the fourth stanza, the speaker wishes he might blow away with the West Wind. Herein lies a sense of escapism. He wishes to be a cloud or a wave, carried away on the strength of the wind, free and able to wander “over Heaven” and earth. He wishes that the wind could pick him up out of “the thorns of life” where he bleeds and where he is “chain'd and bow’d.” He would rather fly on the wind and be “tameless, and swift, and proud.”
Further, combining optimism and escapism, the speaker wants to be the lyre of the wind, sharing in its “mighty harmonies.” He wants to share in the West Wind’s spirit and scatter his words throughout the universe to bring new birth to humanity. People need to understand that although winter comes, spring is close behind.