Commento di Ode to the West Wind di Shelley in inglese

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Commento di “Ode to the West Wind” di Shelley

After his first wife’s death Shelley is taken of his two sons’ tutelage away. This may have caused him the need of moving to Italy. He travelled a lot in his whole life but it seems that he has chosen Italy as his quiet grave of peace. He died in fact in Italy drowned in a storm in the coast of Lerici on July in 1822.
Ode to the West Wind was conceived in a wood beside the Arno, near Florence. It is formally composed of five stanzas each consisting of a sonnet. So formed of four units of terza rima completed by a couplet, this seems to be modelled on the shakespearean sonnet. Terza rima can also make reference to Dante and his Divine Comedy.
The first and the third lines rhyme and the rhyme sound of the second line is taken up by the fourth and sixth lines. This grants a continuous, forward movement similar to that of the wind.
The ode takes on the form of a prayer to a divinity whose identity is revealed only from the fourth stanza.
As common in prayers, the first half of the poem talks about the attributes of the deity. The effects of the wind through the different seasons are described dedicating a singular stanza respectively on those on the land, the sky and the sea. The West Wind is shown as a destroyer, preserver and creator. We also have two nice pictures of Him as a charioteer and an enchanter which emphasise its supernatural essence.
We can divide the ode into two parts. The former, as already pointed up, talking about the effects of the ‘god’ Wind on the whole nature, the latter consisting in the poet’s explicit supplication to the Wind and personal identification with it.
The first three stanzas all conclude with the vocative Oh hear. This allows the dealing to entreaty of the second part. The link is mediated from the final two lines of the fourth stanza in which the poet confesses his own frailties and implores the Wind to give energy for his own spiritual and political regeneration and for the political regeneration of Europe.

stanza 1 describes the effect of the wind on in autumn and in spring. The autumnal wind is a destroyer: its action is characterised by images of death. In spring then, he becomes a preserver so Shelley introduce words which evoke rebirth and life.
The wind is addressed directly through the use of the second person, personification further developed through the attribution to the wind of verbs denoting human faculties, like hear, etc.
stanza 2 the Wind’s action shifts from the land to the sky. The clouds are compared to leaves and boughs. They are messenger angels of the rain and lightning that will come at nightfall. So the autumnal wind is presented again in its destructive function. Words as dirge and sepulchre gives it the Death’s countenance.
stanza 3 the spring wind is described in his creative action on the sea. The sea is seen as the place where in ancient times civilisation was born.
Calm and peace, the poet talks about, is the one typical of the Mediterranean sea. This one is also personified as a languid form, “lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams”, and reflecting “old palaces and towers” lazily like a person asleep. Soft consonants and falling cadences have replaced the earlier harsher consonants of the preceding stanzas. The storming air is taken again at the end talking about the chaotic world of the Atlantic Ocean whose vegetation in the depths shakes with fear.
stanza 4 a more personal tone is introduced; the poet identifies him-self with the wind.
Shelley speaks about his childhood when he ran after the wind. He ask the wind to help him regain the physical and spiritual energy he has lost because he feels to have lost his boyhood’s freedom. This evocating Wordsworth’s idea of childhood: the natural, spontaneous and innocent age.
stanza 5 the climax reaches its highest top in this last stanza. He asks the wind to be his lyre, to renew him, to reanimate his spirit, so that his “dead thoughts”, blown about the universe, will come to new life, like the seeds blown with the dead autumn leaves.

The message is hopeful: autumn heralds the approach of winter, the death for mankind, but spring, representing the regeneration of mankind, will follow after.