This ode begins and ends by addressing the urn as object, but the subject-object duality is dissolved in the third of the five stanzas.
The figures have been preserved in a moment of intensity that they can never enact, and so, it seems Keats both envies and pities them. Perhaps Keats believes that through his leaving behind his immortal poetry he can create a state of permanence in the midst of the constant passage of time. Among others praying this frigid night is Madeline, who follows the ritual of Saint Agnes: Off in the west, he sees a huge image being ministered to by a woman.
More than saying that dreams cannot mix with reality, Lamia warns that imagination cannot be prostituted to the pleasure principle. In the last two lines, it seems to me as though Keats resigns himself to the fact that the eternal beauty of the urn, whether envious or not, is something no generation can ever obtain: Lamia, as imagination incarnate, provides her lover Lycius with a realized dream of carnal perfection that extends continuously until he tires of her adoration.
She challenges the narrator to prove himself so worthy by climbing the altar stairs to immortality, or dying on the spot. This line in particular seems to me perhaps to hold a double meaning. The remainder of the poem narrates the laments of the Titans as they are replaced by the Olympian powers and led by Apollo.
Both choices lead to problematic interpretations. Mnemosyne the muse seeks to assist her favorite child, who aches with ignorance.
The Fall of Hyperion is darker than Hyperion, with the former suggesting that beauty can only be achieved through pain, and that poetry is incomplete if it evades and leaves unexpressed the suffering of humanity. Moneta permits the speaker to enter the temple of Saturn, and she reveals to him her story.
This shows to me a great poetic ambition within Keats, and a self-realisation of his potential as a writer of poetry. He would replace Hyperion, effortlessly, in this pre-Darwinian, pre-Freudian, universe where sons, like evolving species, acquire power over the earth without conscious competition with their fathers.
This theme could be seen once again in OTN, in which Keats describes how, though the nightingale will die one day, his song will live on through time, from generation to generation: Visual and verbal representations, in the use of language and of Greek sculptural forms, contribute to this exploration.
There might be an afterlife where things can be known, but not for the urn. As several critics have noted, the stanzas move from the late growth of summer to the fulfillment of autumn to the harvested landscape; correspondingly, the imagery moves from tactile to visual to auditory in an ascension from the most grossly physical to the most nonphysical.
Lovers about to kiss, rather than kissing; trees in their springtime promise, rather than in fruition; a song that has to be imagined; a sacrifice still to be made, rather than offered—all can suggest experience short of perfection. The Muse and the Poet debate the nature of poetry, happiness, visionary experience, and the role of the poet in the modern world.
His reaction, though, represented through the response of Cortez, is heartening: As Oceanus indicates, the Titans are like the forest-trees, and our fair boughsHave bred forth. In this fragment, the poet occupies the space of the poem in a dream-vision.
Stanza 5 again addresses the urn as object, but with increased understanding over stanza 1. It seems Keats is suggesting that his own life could be full of these shadows, and that could be why, in stanza two, Keats describes how he resorts to alcohol as his means of escaping his sadness and misfortune: By that time Keats was suffering from the advanced stages of tuberculosis, which eventually precluded him from working and left the revision, like the first version, incomplete.
As I see it, Keats also manages to capture in his poetry the prevailing zeitgeist of the romantic era of poetry; the movement of focus and inspiration from the external to the internal, the personalisation of poetry, and the contemplation and glorification of the commonplace and everyday.
It seems to me that Keats is presented with a dilemma of whether the cold beauty and empty perfection found in the urn is really something to be admired, or whether living a relatively brief, transient life full of real warmth and passion is preferable: See also, John Keats Criticism.
To agree that the experience the poet undergoes is entirely satisfactory might be enough, though there is not critical unanimity about this, either. Moneta distinguishes poets from dreamers, whose imaginations focus only on individual ideals.
Madeline, however, comes out of the experience confused; she wanted a dream, not reality, and apparently she could not distinguish between them at their climax.
The action begins in a forest, where the speaker, consciously portrayed as the Poet, consumes fruits and drinks a toast to all poets. Because Lycius is so overwhelmed by her beauty, he believes she must be immortal and loses his confidence.
Responding to the poem in a similar manner. The bird, unaware of its individuality and coming death, is more a medium of the song of its species than a being in its own right.From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes Keats’s Odes Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays.
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The poetry of John Keats is filled with personal explorations of deep and intense feelings and reflections on life. His poems concern a variety of themes, such as eternity and the passage of time; poetic inspiration and ambition; and the desire to find permanence in the midst of constant change.
Selected poems of John Keats: Synopses and commentaries.
Bright Star! Would I were steadfast as thou. Bright Star! - Synopsis and commentary; John Keats, selected poems» Sample essay questions on the poetry of John Keats now; Scan and go. Scan on your mobile for direct link. Published: Thu, 18 May John Keats was an English Romantic poet who lived during the 19th century.
In his short-lived life he faced many ordeals and had to witness death and suffering that shaped him as a poet and reflects in his work.Download