final paper

final paper - Margaret Derby Beth Bramlett CMLT 2220 13...

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Margaret Derby Beth Bramlett CMLT 2220 13 December 2010 Escapism is Natural Nature is a common element in poetry, especially in the works of the romantic poets. It can be an ambiguous figure, but it commonly represents the dichotomy of life and death. Two influential poets of the Romantic period, Percy Shelley and John Keats, frequently used nature to explore complex themes. In both Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind and Keats’s Ode to a Nightingale , the poets use elements of nature as symbols for muses and as foils for their own fragility and limited ability, especially in reference to life and death. Ode to the West Wind is set in autumn, the time of decay and preparation for a new season of life, and is narrated by a man in the metaphorical autumn of his life. It begins with Shelley describing the West Wind’s power and ability. The Wind is described in this first stanza as “moving everywhere” (Shelley 13), a facility that the speaker later envies. The Wind is powerful and the wind shows this saying, “leaves dead/ Are driven” (Shelley 2-3) as the Wind fills the earth “with living hues and odours plain and hill” (Shelley 12). In these few quotes the Wind is described as moving the dead and restoring life in the world. The first three stanzas each close with the speaker calling out to the restoring West Wind, “O hear!” (Shelley 14, 28, 42), just as one would invoke a muse. The speaker, in the fourth stanza, then asks to accompany the West Wind on its journeys over the earth, as it would restore some of his lost youthful vigor. He begs,
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“O! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!/I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!” (Shelley, lines 53-
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This note was uploaded on 04/06/2011 for the course CMLT 2111 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at UGA.

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final paper - Margaret Derby Beth Bramlett CMLT 2220 13...

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