What emotions does the West Wind evoke in the poet?

Quick answer:

The emotions the West Wind brings to the poet include sadness and hope. The West Wind makes the poet and speaker melancholy, but it also makes him optimistic about the future.

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One emotion the West Wind brings to the poet is sadness. The presence of the West Wind produces a lot of glum imagery for the poet. In the first section, Percy Bysshe Shelley depicts autumn leaves as “pestilence-stricken multitudes.” He portrays seeds as lying “cold and low.” These seeds are “like a corpse.” The sickly, funereal pictures in the first section suggest that the West Wind leaves Shelley with melancholy and forlorn emotions.

The dejected emotions continue in the fourth section of the poem. Here, Shelley lists some of the things he wishes he could be. If Shelley was a “dead leaf,” a “swift cloud,” or a “wave,” then he wouldn't be doleful, because he’d have the ability to share in the West Wind’s transcendent powers. Unfortunately, Shelley is not a leaf, a cloud, or a wave; nor is Shelley a boy anymore. Shelley is an adult beset by the “heavy weight of hours.” He has experienced his fair share of burdens. The West Wind reminds him of his sufferings, which reinforces the sad emotions of the poem.

However, the emotions the West Wind brings to the poet aren’t entirely sorrowful. At times, the West Wind brings the poet hopeful emotions. The poet anticipates the West Wind will help rejuvenate nature and spread his spirit and verse throughout the world. In “Ode to the West Wind,” Shelley seems melancholy and tormented, yet he remains rather optimistic about the future.

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