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Explore Keats' view on the roles of the imagination in:- Ode to Psyche, and Ode to a Nightingale.

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Introduction

Keats Explore Keats' view on the roles of the imagination in:- Ode to Psyche Ode to a Nightingale The two poems above have been chosen as they are lyric poems or poems which express the feelings and emotions of the speaker. They were also chosen as both were written in the spring of 1819, later in the life of Keats, and as such, they reflect Keats' view on the role of the imagination, after they had been modified and developed over time. To explore Keats' views on the roles of the imagination in these poems, it is important to be mindful of his position as a Romantic Poet. The Romantic view of imagination held that this was not an analytical power, but a synthesising power. The Romantic poets felt there was a harmony between the human mind and the outside world based on an understanding of a plane of one life, running through nature and humanity. ...read more.

Middle

to lead to a world which transcends time, where characters from the classical world, as is Psyche herself, appear to be real in the here and now. Not only does this world transcend time, but it appears to be a world of heightened joys:- 'In deepest grass, beneath the whisp'ring roof Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran A brooklet, scarce espied.' Here, Keats paints vividly the world created by his imagination to stimulate all the senses. The reader is thus transported to this world through his senses. The experience does not require physicality. Keats then contrasts reality with this world conjured by his imagination. He says that Psyche is not worshipped in the real world of the (then) present time in stanza three:- 'No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet From chain-swing censer teeming' This contrasts starkly with the rich, imaginary visions of the first two stanzas, and the contrast is emphasised with the repetition of 'no', implying emptiness and the transitory nature of the pleasures of human passion or worship:- 'Too, too late for the fond believing lyre.' ...read more.

Conclusion

'With all the gardener Fancy e'er could feign' Keats recognises the imagination is a power which takes account of reality and human suffering but also transforms it into a more complex beauty, or truth. 'In some untrodden region of my mind, Where branched thoughts, new grown with pleasant pain Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind.' Keats' ideal world is reached through the recognition of suffering. These views are echoed in 'Ode to a Nightingale', where in the first lines, Keats likens his altered state to that of drunkenness or a drug-induced state. At this point it could be pointed out that some Romantic poets did experiment with opiates and alcohol to try to induce 'another reality'. Keats contrasts the ugliness of the physical world in stanza two and three, 'The weariness, the fever and the fret' -with the world of imagination in stanzas four, five and six. Here he again points vivid pictures of a world which invokes all the heightened senses of the reader:- 'The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. ...read more.

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