Percy Shelley: Poems

How does the structure of Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind” reflect its theme of cyclic regeneration?

Ode to the West Wind

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Shelley’s form or structure in this poem is one of his own invention. He uses elements of the sonnet in combination with the Italian three-line rhyme scheme known as terza rima.

Shelley's poem also reflects incomprehensible movement of the wind. He makes use of the run on sentences your teacher would deem grammatically incorrect in his depiction of the breeze. He also uses alliteration, rhyme, and assonance, which compliments the poem's theme of regeneration or what might be better understood as the cycle of life.


Ode to the West Wind

The format of terza rima is important because it connects each verse (through the rhyme scheme) with the previous verse. Secondly, we see the cycles of nature through the various natural elements - wind on the leaves, wind on the water, etc. Third, the closing rhetorical question, "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" emphasizes the seasons and how they come in a specific cycle every year. Finally, the poet emphasizes the idea that the wind promotes the death and regeneration of many natural phenomena.