Shelley as a poet of hope and regeneration
Consider Shelley as a poet of hope with reference to
his poem “Ode to the West Wind”.
Discuss the theme of hope and regeneration as you find it in Shelley’s poetry.
Write a note on Shelley’s optimism with illustrations from his poems.
Ans. Shelley was a born revolutionary and he had firm faith in the regeneration of mankind He was a visionary whose faith and optimism never dwindled. His motto of life was to liberate mankind from the tyranny of all types. He dreamt of a bright and radiant future. His constant aim in poetry was to bring about a glorious millennium —- a Golden Age in future. His “Ode to the West Wind” is a poetic manifestation of tile hope and optimism that he would nourish in the inner recesses of his heart.’,
In the poem “Ode to the West Wind”, Shelley presents the wind as a mighty, powerful force. The duality of the wind’s power is emphasized throughout the poem. Two contrasting aspects of the wind are underlined in the first three stanzas — its terrifying destructive power and its gentle fostering influence. It is simultaneously a destroyer and a preserver The wind destroys in order to create something new. It drives away all the dead leaves — “Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,/ Pestilence-stricken multitudes” because they post obstacles to new_germination. The dry old leaves stand for old and useless thoughts that barricade the inauguration of new and revolutionary ideas. The wind symbolically representing a powerful force destroys the old, useless thoughts and preserves the new ideas represented by ‘winged seeds the second and third stanza Shelley describes the tumultuous impact of the West Wind in the sky and on the ocean)On the sky there is a deep commotion as the clouds are dispersed just like the decaying leaves on the ground with the approach of the West Wind.. There comes tempestuous storm from which “Black rain and fire and hail will burst out.” The west wind recreates havoc on the ocean-bed also. The Atlantic ocean cleaves itself into a deep chasm when the west wind raises high weaves on it. Even the sub-marine plants, flowers on the bed of the ocean tremble in fear. The West Wind is thus a cataclysmic force that effects a phenomenal change in the natural world. Shelley was attracted by this tremendous manifestation of the hidden power of natures He saw it as a symbol of the force of revolution that is necessary to change. The present life is a death like state—it is winter of discontent and despair. If we are to bring in a spirit of hope on this earth, we have to destroy the old world and create a new one on its wreckage.
In the fourth stanza, the poet seeks participation in the energy of the winch He expresses his ardent desire to accompany him in his mission of creating a new order of life but the agonies and bitterness of life — “heavy weight of hours” have repressed his qualities. He makes an ardent appeal to the wind to lift him like ‘a wave, a leaf, a cloud’. In the last section, he vehemently urges the west wind to inf use its vigour and power into him, so that he can play the “trumpet of prophecy” and render his massage to mankind. He wants to awake mankind from their “wintry slumber”. He expresses his ardent zeal for regeneration’s — “Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth/ Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!” Final manifestation of hope and optimism occurs in the last two lines – – “0, Wind,/ If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” This establishes Shelley as a poet of inspiration, hope and optimism who sees the rays of hope even through the worst condition.?