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English - Ode on Melancholy

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Ode on Melancholy Analysis 'Ode on Melancholy', written John Keats, is a didactic poem full of instructions on Melancholy. Keats expresses his elevation of nature and imagination as a romanticist with the use of botanical metaphors, mythological allusions and various other techniques in order to portray different meanings and themes throughout his poem, and to ultimately inform the reader that Melancholy is inevitable and only a wise man will realise this. The first theme that John Keats addresses is what not to do, with his instruction not to elevate Melancholy, depression or death. This is emphasised much throughout the first stanza of the poem and Keats highlights this idea in the first line saying, 'No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine'. The assonance in this line stresses his command and imperative voice. The repetition in that statement further accentuates his imperative voice in ordering the reader not to go towards death and not to try and suicide through poisonous herbs such as Wolfs-bane. Keats elaborately describes the notion of suicide and death through mythological allusions, Catholic references, metaphors, symbolism and personification. ...read more.


In juxtaposition to the first theme, the second theme is what to do instead, when you are affected by Melancholy. Keats uses a variety of techniques such as metaphors, alliteration, personification and similes to indicate his ideas. He indicates that he focuses on Melancholy in the line 'But when the melancholy fit shall fall sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud'. The alliteration of 'fit shall fall' brings attention to the idea of Melancholy falling upon someone like a weeping cloud. The personification of a cloud 'weeping' represents the idea of sadness and depression. John lists four possible options of escaping from Melancholy in the next few lines. He relies on the audiences' knowledge on pathetic fallacies to understand them. An example of one of the pathetic fallacies is 'then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose'. A morning rose is a name for beautiful and colourful roses and therefore Keats wants the reader to indulge and overcome their sorrows on the beauty of nature. A further example of a pathetic fallacy is 'or on the wealth of globed peonies'. ...read more.


Keats also supports the argument that victory of Melancholy over everything is inevitable, through the statement 'in the very temple of Delight veil'd Melancholy has her Sovran shrine'. This means that Melancholy is a dominant figure in happiness, and will always be there even in happiness. Finally John Keats ends the poem with 'Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine; His soul shall taste the sadness of her might, and be among her cloudy trophies hung.' This declaration presented by Keats implies that the goddess melancholy is revealed to the man of extreme romantic sensitivity, who understands the sadness of fading beauty and fleeting happiness. Only a sensitive and wise man with a 'strenuous tongue' will know he will eventually be a victim of Melancholy and wisdom comes from realising that joy can stop at any moment and Melancholy is inevitable. John Keats extensively uses decorative language full of metaphors and mythological allusions to dictate an instruction, warning as well as wisdom through this light-hearted poetry. However, this depressing poem ends with the disheartening concept that wisdom comes from knowing that Melancholy will eventually prevail over all and none can escape her grasp. ?? ?? ?? ?? Matthew Chua ...read more.

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