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

`A thing of beauty is a joy forever` - How far and in what ways does Keats communicate this belief in his odes.

Extracts from this document...


`A thing of beauty is a joy forever`. How far and in what ways does Keats communicate this belief in his odes. Emotion was the key element of any Romantic poet, the intensity of which is present in all of Keats poems. Keats openly expressed feelings ignoring stylistic rules which suppressed other poets. Keat's poems display a therapeutic experience, as many of his Odes show a sense of struggle to accept, and a longing to search for an emotion which he could feed off for his eternity. As romantics emphasised beauty in order to replace the lack of religion. The quote `A thing of beauty is a joy forever`, I believe tormented him ever since he wrote `Endymion`, the Odes to be discussed are hence almost a progression of thought and understanding of his own beliefs. 'Ode to Autumn' is perhaps the greatest of nature poems written , and I can only agree when Cedric Watts wrote that it is a `richly resourceful yet alert and unsentimental'. Keats creates a sumptuousness which reflects the beauty he has found in Autumn. The intonation within the first stanza is almost of excitement, as if this beauty has suddenly unleashed itself onto his senses, its effect is more powerful than the drug induced mood in `Nightingale`. The first line introduces us to the personified autumn. ...read more.


Keats has found joy in the innocence of the nightingale, who `among the leaves hast never known, the weariness, the fever and the fret here, where men sit and hear each other groan'. The bird is oblivious to the pain and death. The nightingale's song has been heard by himself 'emperor and clown' and also by the biblical 'Ruth', the beauty, its song has mesmerised and consoled many. I believe Keat's attempts to find a lasting joy in the nightingales song, hence: `thou wast not born for death, immortal bird'. He wishes its song never to end, and when it flees the question `Do I wake or sleep`, I believe is Keats questioning, now that he is out of its trance, has he awakened to the reality of everyday existence. Where 'youth grows pale, and spectre - thin, and dies'? The deliberate punctuated pauses before the conjunction slows the reader and hence echos his brothers Toms death, soon to be his. Therefore the lines: `Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow', show the inevitable change of time and hence the loss of beauty. Similar to the `Ode to Nightingale` Keats went on to write `Ode to a Grecian Urn`, which has been acclaimed to be his greatest poem. The beauty of the Urn isn't natural, it is artificial, hence contrasting the `nightingale`. ...read more.


As Psyche is left holding the lantern in search for her love, Keats is left questioning, searching for something to replace God, a beauty which lasts forever, which is immortal. It wasn't until reading the five odes in progression that I understood the message. He attempts to replace unorthodox religion with emotional experience. His joyful experience is found through beauty. He attempts to define this beauty in terms of a `nightingales song`, Pysche's love, nature's beauty in Autumn, and artificial beauty in art. He also questions this beauty in `melancholy'. Referring back to the question `A thing of beauty is a joy forever`, I believe it was written in naive knowledge. As Keats realises that this is not the case. True, beauty brings joy, but beauty fades, as life fades. Hence the seasons change, the nightingale flees, love fades. But, new seasons bring new beauty, a new bird sings the same song, the historical stories of the urn hold the same emotions, frozen in time, immortal. Then does this suggest that beauty is immortal too? The quote from` Endimyon` can be argued `forever`, as the critics decide numerous meanings and interpretations. Perhaps Keat's struggle within the poems wasn't fluctuations of emotions on his behalf, but a mocking challenge to us, to argue, re-define and question our emotions and our definement of beauty. Our forever is until we die, if we are not subordinated by melancholy towards our end, the joy of beauty for us, will last forever. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE John Keats essays

  1. Compare and contrast William Wordsworth and John Keats' attitude towards nature in the poems ...

    He imagines that "There is madness about thee and joy divine/ In that song of thine". In "The Solitary Reaper" Wordsworth conveys directly through the poem how while taking a walk in the Scottish Highlands he came across a "solitary Highland lass/ Reaping and singing by herself;".

  2. Compare and contrast Keats' presentation of time, transience and mortality in "Ode to Autumn" ...

    Keats uses words such as "swell", "plump" and "budding" (line 7-8) these words have long vowel sounds that may suggest time passing. This is because the sounds are long and go on for a while which may suggest how long Keats feel time takes to pass and also how long fruit takes to grow and mature into ripe fruit.

  1. Compare the ways in which Keats addresses personal concerns in "Ode to a Nightingale ...

    the poem shows his longing for a quick and easy death so he can be like the nightingale and flee from the transience of human mortality - lose the very thing that makes him suffer. At first Keats describes the drug-like effect that the nightingale's song has had on him

  2. Rousseau stated that 'I felt before I thought' captured the spirit of the Romantic ...

    Madeline on the other hand is so intent on carrying out the ritual of St Agnes that she "scarcely" hears the "music". Further to this illustration, Keats describes how silent Porphyro must be so as not to be discovered - he dare not even "whisper".

  1. The two poems I have chosen to look at are the extract of Summer: ...

    Wrth gwrs , Baradwys ydy an 'n dragwyddol darddu , na bwrw glaw , na bwrw eira , na chythymau , a at ca hon acha briddo ydy gormodiaith a 'n goeglyd. Bab arferiadau pawb 'r Lladin sillafiadau a enwau throughout 'r caniad.

  2. Compare and contrast Keats 'Ode of Autumn' with Heaney's 'Death of a Naturalist' bringing ...

    As that alliteration fades out at the end so does autumn. The mood is so mellow and rich, and is reflected by the alliteration of 'mmmm' throughout the first stanza - 'mists', 'mellow', 'maturing', 'moss'd', 'more' and 'more' and the honey overflowing - 'o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells'.

  1. Compare and analyse the poems of Keats (“Ode to Autumn”, “Ode to a Nightingale”) ...

    Keats' Ode to a Nightingale is almost like an interior monologue (a stream of consciousness in the first person, expressing thoughts and ideas) of Keats' feelings and mental images as he listens to the nightingale's song. It does not pause for reflection, but carries on to the end.

  2. 'The ode is used as a poetic form for philosophical contemplation.' Compare two odes ...

    The inclusion of song in both poems is one way Keats appeals to the reader?s senses. The nightingale sings sings ?of summer in full-throated ease? and the vase details a ?happy melodist?, ?pipes and timbrels?. Like visual art or his poetry, song will last for longer than himself.

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