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Analyse and comment on the poetic form and language used in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats.

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Introduction

Carefully read the poem "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats (Romantic Writings: An Anthology, pp.395-6). Write an essay of not more than 1500 words in which you analyse the poem and comment on the poetic form and language used (for example, rhyme, rhythm, metaphor, imagery, tone, word order, alliteration, point of view) and the way they contribute to the meaning and effects of the poem. The purpose of this assignment is to analyse closely and examine the poem "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats. The poem will be examined in terms of its poetic forms the language used by the writer. This poem has been described as one of the key poems from the Romantic period. This discussion will look at the poem as a whole and by closely examining each stanza of the poem. Firstly, let us consider the writers background and the context of the historical period in which this poem was written. The author of the poem was John Keats who was born on 31st October 1795 in London. Keats appears to of had a troubled childhood. His father was a livery stable keeper who was killed in a riding accident in 1804. He left a wife with four young children and although she remarried quickly, she separated from her husband within two years. ...read more.

Middle

Let us now consider the poem a stanza at a time. Stanza one begins slow, the wording and the language applied asks questions from abstract concepts of time and art. Notice for example line 1. "Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness" Here the vase is being compared to an unravished or virginal bride and serves the purpose of preparing the reader in three ways. * For the violence described in lines 8-10. * For the impossibility of fulfillemnt in stanza 2 * Introduces in the use of the word still, the concept of time and motion, which are to feature a number of times throughout the poem. Perhaps this is because although the urn exists in a real world that is subject to change and the effects of time that the images depict remain unaffected. Not also the phase " sylvan historian" in line 3, whilst not answering any of the poet's questions, does have a message depending on how you interpret the, final stanza. The urn is "sylvan", firstly because it has a border of leaves around the vase and the scene is set in woods. The wording "flowery tale" and "sweetly" do not prepare the reader for the fear and wild sexuality depicted in lines 8-10, a Bacchanalian ritual that involves a sexual chase. ...read more.

Conclusion

Again a contrast to the image of the Bachanalian ritual. Also notice the use of the word tease in line 44. It could be said that in his use of this word that Keats's felt that the images on the urn draw the observer out of the real world and in to an ideal world. Looking at the poem as a whole, notice how much of the text takes the form of the couplet thus allowing the flowing rhythm of the prose. The poem has been written in five stanza's. The rhyming scheme of the poem is highlighted by the punctuation and the use of indentations. Notice too that each stanza is made up of ten lines each of approximately the same length. In the final couplet Keats states that "pain is beautiful". This leads us to the discussion of the voice within the poem. The reader has to decide whether this is the urns' voice or that of Keats. It could be here that Keats is casting a philosophical eye on life in general and not merely on the life depicted in context of the poem. Critics of this poem have stated that Keats is saying that art is superior to nature. Whether this statement can be agreed with would depend on whether or not the reader considers Keats to be discussing the urn simply as a piece of art or with a deeper appreciation. ...read more.

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