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Allegory And Symbolism In

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Jake M. Arbutante Reaction Paper # 02

IV- Pasteur September 14, 2007

Allegory and Symbolism in

Percy Shelley's

"Ode to the West Wind"

The Allegories and Symbolisms in the "Ode to the West Wind"

1st Stanza

Wild west wind...: Here the tone seems to be very calming, because the wind was described as "wild", this also gives the positive meaning to the poem.

Unseen presence the leaves dead...: When I've read this line, the idea of negativism came into my mind. When you rearranged the word, 'leaves dead', you would come up to the term "dead leaves". The sentence goes on and makes these 'dead' leaves live again as 'ghosts' that flee from something that panics them.

Pestilence-stricken multitudes...: This pestilence where described as yellow (symbolizes the color of the skin of a sick man), black (this may symbolize death), pale (totl contradiction to the color black, but fro me this symbolizes, sadness) hectic red (this may symbolize. blood)

The next lines all describes death, they describe death as winged seeds which lie cold and low in the wintry bed like a corpse within its grave. In the first line, the author use the phrase "winged seeds" which presents images of flying and freedom. The only problem is that they lay "cold and low". The important word is "seeds" for it shows that even in death, new life will grow out of the "grave." The phrase "winged seeds" also brings images of religions, angels, and/or souls that continue to create new life.

Azure sister of the spring...: This is where hope comes in, when the east wind comes; the seed will now be rejuvenated, or will create new life.

Destroyer and preserver...: The west wind is considered the 'Destroyer' because it gets hold of the last signs of life from the trees. He is also considered the 'Preserver' for scattering the seeds which will come to life in the spring.

2nd Stanza

In this part of the poem there is a shift of the clouds which makes the reader aware that there will be an upcoming storm.

Of the dying year, to which this closing night/ Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre/ Vaulted with all they congregated might

Here it seems that the "closing night" is used to symbolize the final night. The "sepulchre" is a tomb made out of rock and his imagination and the natural world will be locked and "Vaulted" tight.

Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst...:Here the author, Shelley wants the reader to visualize the "dome" (2.11) as having a presence like a volcano. And when the "dome" does "burst," it will act as a "Destroyer and Preserver" and creator. The use of the words "Black rain and fire and hail..." also helps the reader prepare for the apocalyptic climax which Shelley intended.

3rd stanza

Pumice Isle: The name of an isle near Naples, Italy, which is formed by deposits of lava from Vesuvius, a volcano nearby.

Baiae's bay: A favorite resort of the ancient Romans on the coast of Campania, at the western end of the Bay of Naples.

intenser day: The translucency of the water is more intense than the dazzling daylight above its surface. "Day" here refers to "daylight."

At the 3rd stanza the author now talks of the "Mediterranean" and its "summer dreams". In the dream, I find the sea setting beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay, saw in sleep old palaces and tower. The "pumice" shows destruction and creation for when the volcano erupts, it destroys. But it also creates more new land. The "pumice" is probably the author's best symbolism of rebirth and rejuvenation. The word "Quivering" is not just used to describe the reflection of images in the water. It is also used to show a sense of fear which seems to be the most common mood and emotion in this poem.

The sapless foliage of the ocean... suddenly grow gray with fear...: here it seems that the "sea-blooms" and "oozy woods" which are plants at the bottom of the ocean also fall under the influence of the



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