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Ode on Melancholy Explication

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Introduction

"Ode on Melancholy" by John Keats dramatizes the connection between happiness and beauty and melancholy and pain. The poem suggests the idea of embracing the beauty and joy of nature and humanity although it may contain pain and death. The speaker recognizes that happiness and pain are connected and to experience joy we must experience sadness or melancholy. The poem consists of three stanzas of ten lines. The rhyme scheme of the first two stanzas is ABABCDECDE. This rhyme scheme seems to make the poem flow at a smoother and steadier pace. However, in the third stanza, the rhyming changes to ABABCDEDCE. The poem has a logical structure. It progresses as the reader reads. ...read more.

Middle

The speaker says that it will make the "anguish of the soul" drowsy, and the reader should do everything they can to stay aware of his suffering. In the second stanza, lines 1-4 describe the physical circumstances literally and the emotional circumstances figuratively. For example the clouds are "weeping," which is an act of melancholy. Also, literally, flowers are usually positive but in line 3 they are "droop-headed" so they figuratively become negative (sadness or grief). The speaker then tells the reader/sufferer what to do in place of the things he said not to do in the first stanza. When bothered with "the melancholy fit," the sufferer should instead replace his sorrow with beauty, "glutting it on the morning rose", "on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave," or "in the eyes of his beloved." ...read more.

Conclusion

The speaker says that the melancholy comes from inside the "temple of Delight," but that you can only see it if you fill yourself with joy until it uncovers the sadness, by "bursting Joy's grape against his palate fine." The person who can do this "shall taste the sadness" of melancholy and "be among her cloudy trophies hung." The speaker implies that all the good things in life, such as beauty and joy are mixed with pain and sadness. This idea is true in reality. Melancholy or sadness and pain come with all situations in life. The poem emphasizes that the more we are happy in life, the more we are subject to melancholy. The speaker believes humans must satisfy their desire for happiness in a world where happiness and pain are connected. ...read more.

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