The theme of love is often presented in the works of many great poets. Thus, love theme is clearly manifested in the poems “The Raven” and “Ode to the West Wind” written by Edgar Allan Poe and Percy Bysshe Shelley correspondently. Though the plots of these poems are quite different they are still connected with the theme of love. Thus, Shelley in his poem praises the wind and expresses his love for nature. Poe’s poem in its turn reveals the theme of undying love and devotion.
Thus, in the poem “Ode to the West Wind” the speaker glorifies nature as well as the power it has. It is clear that the speaker is fascinated by the constructive and at the same time destructive power of the wind. Therefore, the poet states: “Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere; / Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!” (Shelley). The poet believes that the wind may bring a lot of changes in the life of nature as it embodies death and rebirth at the same time. Furthermore, the speaker’s love for nature is evident due to the fact that one wants to become the part of it. Thus, the speaker claims, “Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce, / My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!” (Shelley). Poe’s poem, on the contrary, is dedicated to the feelings of a human who has lost his beloved. From the beginning of the poem it is clear that the speaker mourned over his beloved and couldn't find the reason for being without her. Thus, he states, “Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow/ From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore” (Poe). The speaker was so preoccupied with his grief that at first he didn't notice raven that came into his house. He hopped that the raven would help him to move on. He asked the bird if he would ever be able to reunite with Leonore but the answer was always the same: “Nevermore” (Poe). The speaker had to admit that the raven would stay with him forever so as his memories of his beloved. All in all, it is possible to say that the theme of undying love plays the central role in the poem.
It should be noted that both poems are marked by the use of symbolism. Thus, in the “Ode to the West Wind” the wind serves as the main symbol of the poem. It is perceived by the author as the main force of changes that appear in nature. He treats it as the living force and personifies the wind calling it “O Wild West Wind” (Poe). The speaker believes that the wind has a great power and through the whole poem expresses his fascination by it. One of the major symbols of Poe’s poem is the raven itself. The raven is strongly connected with the main theme of the novel as it symbolizes the speaker’s grief as well as his eternal love and sincere feelings for his beloved. Thus, the speaker understands that he will never be able to reconnect with his love Leonore, but at the same time he realizes that his love for her will always stay with him.
It is also worth of note that both poems have a remarkable number of stylistic devices that contribute to the main meaning of the poems and make them more expressive. Thus, in order to show creative and destructive power of wind in “The Ode to the West Wind” Shelley used a lot of contrasts, calling the wind “destroyer” and “preserver”. The author also used personification (O wild West Wind) treating the wind as the living force. Poe’s poem is marked by an extensive use of epithets such as weary, bleak, sad, grim and others. The usage of epithets contributes to gloomy atmosphere of the poem and emphasizes the speaker’s grief of love.
Shelley, Percy Bysshe. “Ode to the West Wind”. PoetryFoundation. Web. 26 Jul. 2015
Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Raven”. PoetryFoundation. Web. 26 Jul. 2015