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Theme - Inspiration in Ode to the West Wind When composition begins inspiration is already on the decline - P B Shelley Shelley deals with the theme of inspiration in much of his work However it is particularly apparent in Ode to the West Wind where the wind is the source of his creativity The cycles of death and rebirth are examined in an historical context with reference to The Bible The word inspiration has several connotations that Shelley uses in this Ode Inspiration is literally taking in breath and wind breath soul and inspiration are all identical or related in Hebrew Latin and Greek They are all closely related in Ode to a West Wind Shelleys adaptation of Dantes work is evident throughout most of his writing In Ode to the West Wind it is quite apparent He was writing this poem in a wood on the outskirts of Arno near Florence which is Dantes hometown The use of the terza rima poem is Shelleys most obvious adaptation of Dante and he relies upon Dantesque ideas to write his poetry The image of the leaves being blown by the wind like ghosts from an enchanter fleeingl3 depends on the Inferno in Paradiso for the image to have an effect on the reader The various cycles of death and rebirth are examined with reference to the Maenads who were fabled to have destroyed Orpheuss body and spread it around the world This is the underlying theme to the poem with Shelley alluding to the breaking of Christs body on the cross and how that was essential for humanity to reach salvation The onslaught of Autumn is the Destroyer in one sense but also the Preserver as it forms an intricate part of the cycle of life and death Without the death of Jesus Christ the world would not have been saved and so for life to exist so too
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