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

'The ode is used as a poetic form for philosophical contemplation.' Compare two odes by Keats in light of this observation.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

2010-07-11 ?The Ode is used as a poetic form for philosophical contemplation.? Compare two odes by Keats in the light of this observation Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode to a Nightingale were written in May 1819, a time in Keats? life which he devoted entirely to poetry. Both of these poems contemplate the poet?s approaching death, using stimuli of what is on the face of a Grecian vase and the song of a nightingale. There are differences and similarities between the two poems, and both will be looked at in the essay. Both of the above poems are odes. An ode is a form of poetry about emotion. First used by the Romans and Greeks, the form was revived in England in the 17th century. The form was popular among the English Romantic poets. A typical verse of an ode consists of a quatrain with a rhyme structure of ABAB and a sestet with a rhyme structure of CDECDE. However, Keats tended to be more liberal with his rhyme structures in his odes. Keats was born in 1795 and was the last born of the English romantic poets He became interested in poetry through his secondary school headmaster, who introduced him to Renaissance poetry and so the ode. Both of his parents died before he turned fifteen, so he became familiar with loss at an early age. ...read more.

Middle

This is almost the same in Ode to a Nightingale, apart from on the eighth line, where it is in iambic trimeter. This is perhaps to mimic the slightly intermittent sound of a nightingale?s song. The tone of both odes is similar when compared to other poetry, but each is slightly different. The tone of Ode on a Grecian Urn starts out as questioning: ?What men or gods are these??, as the poet tries to understand what is on the vase. Then, the speaker becomes jealous of the ?happy, happy love? the urn?s people will always be anticipating. He is also reminiscing of his own youth, where he asked Fanny Brawne to marry him. Unfortunately, he could not marry her at the time because of financial circumstances and later, he grew too ill to ever get married. This is particularly apparent when he depicts a ?Bold lover? chasing a girl who can ?never, never? be with. Towards the end of the poem, Keats? tone becomes more solemn as he realises when he and his generation are gone, the urn ?shalt remain?. Ode to a Nightingale begins more sombrely than its counterpart, as Keats describes his terrible physical state, partially due to opium: ?a drowsy numbness pains /My sense?. He then becomes wistful, similar to his emotions during the other ode, as he hankers for ?a draught of vintage?. ...read more.

Conclusion

These can be compared to Keats? feverous symptoms of tuberculosis. Both show that they are alive, and when they go it will because of old age, in the urn?s people?s case, or death, in Keats? case. More generally, there is a contrast between the coldness of the urn and the warmth of the figures on it. Urns were for people?s ashes, a link between coldness and death. Keats? main concern are the figures on the urn, as the ode is ?on? rather than ?to? the urn. They are young, happy and healthy and so connotes life with heat. A reoccurring word in both odes is ecstasy. The urn?s figures are in a ?wild ecstasy?, and the nightingale sings ?In such an ecstasy!?. The phrase is so important, it abandons the stanza?s rhyme structure. As it is an extreme emotion, it can be used for both the deep depression the poet is in and the euphoria his characters are in. In conclusion, both Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode to a Nightingale contemplate, above all, the writer mortality and the use of beauty to soften its effects. The Grecian urn and nightingale, the inspiration for the poet, are both beautiful works of art. The nightingale as well as the insouciant figures on the urn?s contrast with the speaker?s feelings of despair and depression. The speaker is both superior to them, in knowledge and age, but inferior to them, in health and happiness. C ...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 ...

    This happens as Keats describes when the senses are disrupted sometimes by drugs and the mind then floats upwards out of the body, afterwards when the mind returns to the body, the person recalls the experience not as a dream but as a vivid and wide awake experience.

  2. How Important A Part Did Florence Nightingale Play In Improving The Training Of Nurses ...

    Of the 38 nurses she took to the Crimea, 24 were nuns. Although partly due to the poor standard of training outside the convents, this also suggests that she thought nursing like a religious vocation. Thus proving that Florence Nightingale was an important part in improving the training of nurses in the 19th Century.

  1. Compare and Contrast Keat's Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn and ...

    But in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet." He realises then at the end of the Ode to a Nightingale poem that escaping to the nightingale's world is not as good as the mortal world. He bases this decision on the fact that in the mortal you experience both the good

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

    shown in this quote where he describes them as "happy, happy" (line 21). Since this feeling he may envy the thought of the figures on the urn being immortal, Keats does not actually know whether these people are immortal but he thinks that is the case.

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

    fair creature of the hour, that I shall never look upon thee more, never have relish in the faery power of unreflecting love!". The use of the exclamation mark shows that this is probably Keats' largest fear despite his supposed mistrust for women and this gives an interesting insight into his personality.

  2. `A thing of beauty is a joy forever` - How far and in what ...

    Keats almost forces his subject at us. The central stanza is almost a `breathing space` for the reader, to interact with the poem. Keats creates a hypnotic mood almost lethargic. Keats achieves this through his language. The use of `carless` and `soft-lifted`. The alliteration of `winnowing winds` and the assonance of `sound asleep`, almost attack our aural

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

    So this poem reflects autumn, not only in the visual pictures, but also in structure, tone, mood and rhyme. This brief ode also manages to convey the shortness of autumn, an idea conflicting with the slow, drowsy mood, but nevertheless still portrayed as the ode starts with summer and ends with winter, seemly all too quickly.

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

    The themes he encompasses into his work are all closely linked with the trademark style of Romantic writing. In 'To Autumn', Keats chooses to describe autumn, an uncommon season for poets to write about, as most wrote poems about spring.

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