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

Ode on a Grecian Urn - New Criticism.

Extracts from this document...


Ode on a Grecian Urn - New Criticism John Keats' poem Ode on a Grecian Urn describes an urn and the way it makes him feel. The poem begins by asking questions about the characters depicted on the urn and leads into the speaker's feelings of eternity and death. This is followed by a show of frustration and a restatement of the speaker's feelings on eternity. In actuality, the entire poem is the speaker comparing the people and events depicted on the urn to life. Therefore, the urn is symbolic, as it embodies the meaning of life for the speaker. The poem is written about a Grecian urn, not literally but as a symbol for the speaker's feelings about life. ...read more.


"What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape/Of deities or mortals, or of both/ ... /What men or gods are these? What maidens loath? ..." (ln 5-8) However, by looking at the urn, he receives no answers only sees a superficial view of the characters he seeks. "With brede/Of marble men and maidens overwrought, /With forest branches and the trodden weed; ..." (ln 41-43) The speaker voices his feelings about eternal life and compares his feelings to the fact that the urn will always be there to represent the person contained therein. "... little town, thy streets for evermore/Will silent be ..." (ln 38-39) The comparison to the urn states that as time passes, the urn will always be there regardless of the events of the world. ...read more.


What the speaker is doing, is reading a quote that is written on the urn and the fact that the poem ends on this note signifies that this quote somehow answers any questions the speaker needs answered. There is no way to know what this answers because it should mean something different to everybody who reads it. "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" is meant to be a "universal truth". The statement isn't necessarily the meaning of life for everybody because life is what you make it, but it is all the meaning Keats needed to resolve whatever issues he was having with life or the lack thereof. It is for that reason that the statement stands out as much as it does in the poem. Ironically, Keats' meaning of life is coming from an object that is designed to contain death. Soulliere 1 ...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. The interplay of dreams and reality is frequently found within John Keats' poems.

    These steps, die on the marble where thou art." Struggling against strangling and suffocating cold which seems to rise from his "iced" feet, the poet just manages to gain the steps "one minute before death", and he is immediately restored by their life giving powers.

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

    Like the nightingale, poesy, too has wings, though it is more insubstantial than the bird. Keats longs for inspiration as his brain is "dull", and is ironically, transported by poesy. The synaesthesia used in the fifth stanza, when Keats is with the Nightingale not only condenses the imagery of the

  1. A2 English Literature

    There are significant differences between 'Ode to a Nightingale' and 'Ode on a Grecian Urn', as in the latter, there is a sense of formality not experienced in 'Ode to a Nightingale'. Most notably, there is no 'I' and the focus is not so much on the mind as on the work of art, the urn itself.

  2. What Do Ode To A Nightingale And Ode To A Grecian Urn Have To ...

    And because they cannot move it is in some ways not as superior to life as he might think. "Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn? And, little town, thy streets for evermore will silent be." In some ways this is an advantage but in other ways it is also a relatively bad thing.

  1. Write a detailed Critical analysis of “Ode on a Grecian urn”

    And, little town, thy streets for evermore Will silent be; and not a soul to tell Why thou art desolate, can e'er return. Here the poet describes another scene, as if the urn has been turned to reveal a different surface.

  2. Keats Connects With Beauty, in

    Before Keats can even get into this, he begins to think of the "little town" (38) and how the streets "will silent be" (39) because the people will never return. Keats runs out of things to question after this.

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