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

theme of indolence explored in 'ode on indolence'

Extracts from this document...


INDOLENCE Question: How is the theme of indolence explored in the poem 'ode on indolence'? 'Ode on indolence' is the praise of indolence/sluggishness; it makes the claim of the attractions of lethargy being more alluring than the attractions of the more active emotions of love, ambition and poetry. It is the admiration of the state of non-doing and non-feeling. The ode is a simple, straight forward story of a man who spends a lazy summer day in a state of numbness and does not want his visions of love, ambition and poesy to disrupt his indolence. These three figures are strikingly contrasted to the condition of indolence. The poetic persona could be Keats himself. The ode begins with the poetic persona seeing 'three figures' one summer morning passing him by in a dream/vision, as if on a 'marble urn' they returned with each turn of the vase. ...read more.


The narrator begs the 'shadows' to leave him to his much longed-for 'nothingness'. The term used- 'shadows' insinuates the visions are dark and ominous. The third verse is commenced with yet another question addressing the reason for the figures appearance. His confusion is echoed in the word 'baffled'. His soul is compared to a beautiful 'lawn' strewn with 'flowers', 'stirring shades' and 'baffled beams'; the sky was 'clouded' but there was no rain, only dew drops called the 'sweet tears of May'. This pristine image of the narrator's soul is brought on by the state of inactivity, thus we are made to believe that this state of being is desirable or covetable. He wants to 'bid farewell' to the three shadows. The fourth verse shows the third turn of the urn and brings forth the realisation of the there figures- the 'fair maid' 'love', 'ambition' 'pale of cheek' with 'fatigued eye' and the 'maiden most unmeek' 'poesy'. ...read more.


From other poems- 'ode to a nightingale' or 'ode on a Grecian urn'- we know that Keats has trouble with mortality and impermanence. And as for poesy, 'it has not a joy' compared to 'honied indolence'- the narrator would rather be devoid of 'common-sense' and spend his 'drowsy noons' numb and listless completely ignorant to the world around him ['I may never know how change the moons']. The concluding stanza says 'adieu' to the three and marks their defeat in rousing the narrator from his laziness. He commands the 'phantoms' to 'vanish' and 'never more return'. He banishes them back to the 'dreamy urn' and reduces them to 'faint visions'. But taking into account that the state of indolence as compared to the three visions is hardly mentioned, it is not very convincing that the poetic persona prefers indolence over his other temptations [especially after reading some of his other poems]. It does however come across that he is trying to deny his passions even to himself. No. of words: 757 ...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. Notes On Ode to Indolence by John Keats

    He learns that they are Love, Ambition and Poesy. He calls Poesy 'my demon' and 'maiden most unmeek' making it personal, and showing his inspiration tortures and torments him. Stanza 4 The speaker urges to follow the figures again as they disappear ('faded and forsooth' - alliteration)

  2. ode to a nightingale analysis

    He has referred fondly to death in many of his poems ['mused rhyme']. He also requests death to claim him. His 'breath' is not only his life but could also mean his soul. He feels that ['now more than ever seems it rich to die'] there is no better time

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

    The soft sounds, and descriptions of flowers used in this stanza yield an enchanting and beautiful atmosphere to the landscape. He feels, for a moment, in stanza seven, how marvelous it would be for his life to end in such a state of bliss ("Now more than ever seems it rich to die/.../ In such an ecstasy!"

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

    It allows us to escape ourselves into a dream world away from harsh reality. However, these lines are open to wide interpretation. In both 'Ode on a Nightingale' and 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' Keats chooses to emphasise the tragic nature of our human condition - that in the world

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

    I think that Keats in some ways tries to convey the message that art is superior to human life. This is maybe because of the fact that things like the Urn do not change and the people in the Urn are always happy, much unlike human life although they are static.

  2. Ode to a Nightingale

    In the sixth stanza, the speaker listens in the dark to the nightingale, saying that he has often been "half in love" with the idea of dying and called Death soft names in many rhymes. Surrounded by the nightingale's song, the speaker thinks that the idea of death seems richer

  1. Imagination; An Endless Vision In the poems "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by ...

    As Marvel stated "I would / Love you ten years before the Flood; / And you should, if you please, refuse / Till the conversion of the Jews" (7-10). He is in control of this theoretical time. This is supported even more by the amount of time he would spend

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

    2 Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd, Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;

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