• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Keats Connects With Beauty, in

Extracts from this document...


Keats Connects With Beauty John Keats, in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and "Ode to a Nightingale" attempts to connect with two objects of immortality to escape from the rigors of human life. In "Ode to a Nightingale", Keats attempts to connect with a bird's song because the music knows nothing of aging and mortality. Keats has the same motivation in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" while trying to connect with three separate images on a mysterious urn. Connecting in this sense means to either fully understand the object or become the object itself. For example, when Keats attempts to "connect" with an image on the urn, he attempts to fully understand the origin of the image. While his attempts to connect with the two objects fall short, he nevertheless makes an interesting conclusion about the ideals of beauty and truth. Keats begins the "Ode to a Nightingale" in pain, before hearing the melody of the nightingale. After hearing this music, he wishes to join the bird and leave the human world. He first attempts to connect with the bird using a "draught of vintage" (11), but upon further thinking, decides that he will "not (be) ...read more.


Embedded in the urn is an image of revelry and the sexual pursuit, a piper and a lover in pursuit of a fair maid, and a sacrificial ritual (882). The urn the narrator describes is the antithesis of human beings - the urn will not age, nor will it die. The maiden in the poem "cannot fade" (19) and their love will be "for ever new" (24). However, while they are immune to aging, they are frozen in time. As a result, they are robbed of experiencing life. The piper can never kiss the maiden nor can the townsmen who are off to the sacrifice ever return home. Keats tries three times to connect three times with the images on the urn. In the first image, he asks, "What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?" (8) However, this is as far as the narrator can go, because the urn cannot conceivably answer his questions. He then looks to the picture of the piper, describing the experiences of the maiden and her pursuer. Though the two will never kiss, Keats believes the chase for love is more important than actually receiving love. The narrator believes this because while the two are not physically together, the prospect of "more happy, happy love!" ...read more.


Keats' interest in the nightingale goes along the same lines, because the bird, while feeling none of the emotional pain that Keats did, sang the same song that had echoed since the beginning of man. The bird would sing far past the death of Keats, and he admired this much like he admired the immortality of the piper. The urn and the song of the nightingale lived in their own self-contained world and as a result, Keats was never able to penetrate or fully understand these objects. Still, while Keats was not able to connect with the objects in the manner he desired, he still viewed the song and the urn as a "friend to man" (48 Urn). All we needed to know, according to Keats, was that "beauty is truth, truth beauty" (49 Urn). The narrator would never know what the nightingale meant when it sang its songs. Furthermore, Keats would never be able to fully understand the images on the urn because it was created in a different time period. Therefore, Keats would never understand the full truth behind either the song or the urn. But according to Keats' conclusion, none of this mattered. The only truth that he needed to know was that these objects were beautiful and worthy of being admired. Wesley Cheng Page 1 5/10/2007 Prof. Mortenson ETS 313 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level John Keats section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level John Keats essays

  1. How does Keats appeal to the senses in Ode to the Nightingale

    the reader's senses and underline the themes of death and beauty in Ode to a Nightingale. The ode has a balance of purr and snarl connotations, and juxtaposing statements within sentences, Keats says "fast fading violets cover's up in leaves" this depicts an image of both beauty but also of

  2. The interplay of dreams and reality is frequently found within John Keats' poems.

    The third stanza begins by invoking this "beauty that must die" with the poignant images of "Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips," and "aching pleasure nigh, turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips,"; that is, painful pleasure, beginning to cloy even at the instant it most pleases.

  1. ode to a nightingale analysis

    Keats begins the sixth stanza by directly addressing the nightingale. He calls it a 'darkling', referring to its nocturnal nature. He tells the nightingale that he has been listening to its song and has thought of death many times. He is now 'half in love with easeful death' this may

  2. Ode To A Nightingale/ Ode On A Grecian Urn - comparison

    her lustrous eyes, / Or new Love pine at them beyond tomorrow." (1.29-30). All the sorrows of life Keats mentions in this stanza seem to be connected with the mortality of humans. From the mortal bird, the nightingale is transformed to its symbolic and immortal form of poetic inspiration at the climax of stanza seven.

  1. A2 English Literature

    Whilst some critics have affirmed that the poem is about the inadequacy of the imagination, others believe there is a greater kind of ambivalence in Keats's attitude. It has been argued that Keats still suggests through his final question that such a vision or experience is possible, or at least, something he longs for.

  2. "A Vale of Soul-Making" A Biography of John Keats

    While his dark fate was still a part of the future, Keats was filled with the yearning to see life and to be able to reflect it in his poetry. (The Essential Keats 6) Therefore, John Keats and Charles brown decided to make a journey, exploring the highlands, by foot.

  1. Lamia is a Narrative Poem in Which Keats Seems More Interested in Describing Than ...

    Since poems can be written about anything at all, Keats found it easy to create the wonderful world he wanted to create in his poem. All based on mythology and fiction. Although there is masses of description there is narration in the poem which clearly shows the reader what is happening.

  2. Eternal Love Through Death in John Keats Bright Star

    He imagines himself ?pilliow?d upon my fair love?s ripening breast?. The word ?ripening? gives a notion of youth, implicating that the lady is young and energetic. Keats also describes the rising and falling of her chest when she takes her ?tender-taken breath?. If he could, he would ?so live ever?.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work