Themes The Inevitability of Death Even before his diagnosis of terminal tuberculosis, Keats focused on death and its inevitability in his work. For Keats, small, slow acts of death occurred every day, and he chronicled these small mortal occurrences. As a writer, Keats hoped he would live long enough to achieve his poetic dream of becoming as great as Shakespeare or John Milton: Unlike mortal beings, beautiful things will never die but will keep demonstrating their beauty for all time.
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: O, for a draught of vintage!
O for a beaker full of the warm South, Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple-stained mouth; That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, And with thee fade away into the forest dim: Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs, Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow And leaden-eyed despairs, Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain— To thy high requiem become a sod. Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music: The poem is an expression of exalted emotions that the poet feels about the transience of the nature of reality. The poet addresses the nightingale directly in some unspecified setting in spring.
He presents his main themes of the contradictory nature of life, such as the dualities of pain and joy, life and death, pleasure and numbness, real and ideal, time and timelessness, and mortality and immortality. The poem represents a conflict between the imaginative and the real world.
For Keats, the real world is the world of mutability and flux, which causes pain, whereas the imaginative world of the nightingale is immortal and devoid of pain. The poet longs to escape from the human world into that of the bird. The tone of the poem is highly ambivalent and conflicting.
The poem begins with the pain of the real world: The second stanza beautifully describes the real world: However, the music has evaporated into the air, which shows the transitory nature of happiness.
Structural Analysis The poem is divided into eight stanzas with ten lines in each stanza. Its metrical pattern is variable, unlike other poems of Keats.
The eighth stanza contains a simile: Guidance for Usage of Quotes Since the bird is symbolic of art and nature in this ode, and there is comparison between the real world and the imaginative world of the nightingale, the speaker compares the mortality of human life to the permanence of creative expression.
There are feelings of beauty, solace, comfort, and love, along with pains and agonies of this transitory life. This poem also contains a message for lovers who are fed up with pains of the real world. They can escape into imaginative world and refer to their loved ones as nightingales, such as in these lines:"Ode to a Nightingale" is a particular kind of ode- a Horatian ode, after the Roman poet Horace "Ode to a Nightingale" is notable for being the longest of Keats's six "Great Odes"- often considered the most personal, with its reflections on death and the stresses of life.
‘Ode to a Nightingale’ is a poem by John Keats in which emotions such as sadness and despair are explored, along with ideas related to transience and the passage of time. Keats is an extremely well known and highly regarded Romantic poet, considered to be a member of the ‘new’ second wave Romantic movement.
Before we jump into John Keats' 'Ode to a Nightingale,' let's learn a bit more background information. Born in , John Keats was a key member of the Romantic movement in English literature. "Ode to a Nightingale" is a poem by John Keats written either in the garden of the Spaniards Inn, Hampstead, London or, according to Keats' friend Charles Armitage Brown, under a plum tree in the garden of Keats' house at Wentworth Place, also in Hampstead.
In the spring of , the months during which Keats wrote four of the five great odes, Keats stayed with his friend Charles Brown in Wentworth Place, Hampstead. Brown later wrote the following account, which may offer the reader insight about the experience expressed in “Ode to a Nightingale.
Video: Ode to a Nightingale by Keats: Summary, Analysis & Themes John Keats' 'Ode to a Nightingale' is a different flavor of Romanticism. There are no dancing daffodils or peaceful shepherds to be.