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Romanticism expressed via John Keats', "Ode to a Nightingale"

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Introduction

Kathlen Sanchez D.S World Humanities 102 Section A October 10, 2012 Although love may occasionally be the subject of the Romantic Era, Romanticism has very little to do with things commonly thought of as ?romantic.? Rather, it was an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in the late 18th century Western Europe. Romanticism flourished as a form of revolt, opposing the idea of the Age of Reason. Newton?s and the rationalist philosophers? idea that science and technology would solve man?s economic troubles, dominated this era. However, the Age of Enlightenment resulted in two major revolutions; first, the French Revolution (1789-1799), and secondly, the Industrial Revolution (1750-1850). During the French Revolution, new Enlightenment principles were adapted??Liberty, Equality, Fraternity?? and individual freedom was restricted. The Industrial Revolution, however, changed much of the world from agrarian communities into industrialized cities. Both, the French and Industrial Revolution caused artists and other creative individuals to form an anti-scientific movement, known as the Romanticism Era. Many romantics believed that, science and virtue were incompatible; an idea which was coined by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. ...read more.

Middle

Prior, the nightingale is referred to as ?Dryad? (7). In Greek Mythology, Dryads are female spirits of nature (nymphs) who are in charge of forests. The mythological creature reference establishes a mood that lies somewhere between reality and dreaming. Therefore, supporting the characteristics of nature, in which the poet successfully uses to escape reality. To furthermore support this thesis, in the second stanza the poet describes his desire to drink from the fountain to escape his problems through poetry. In stanza 7, the nightingale is the voice of nature. In Romanticism the cycle of Nature changes. It is suggested that the bird is ?immortal,? and it shares that characteristic with nature. The nightingale is immortal, as it is in harmony with its habits, unlike man, who were in competition with his. A second characteristic seen in literature works throughout the Romanticism Era was imagination. The Romantics tended to define and present the imagination as creating power. Imagination is the primary function of creating art. ...read more.

Conclusion

The nightingale represents who the individual wants to be. At this time, he wants peace and serenity in his life, however, because it is only imagination, he is led back to reality?the reality of having no freedom of self-expression. In the last stanza, the question ?Was it a vision, or a waking dream?? represents that the poet is waking up from a trance. In conclusion, Romanticism is the movement in history that flourished as a result of the Age of Reason. Artists and creative individuals were not happy with the principles of the Enlightenment and revolted against it. Romanticism was embodied in the visual arts, education, music, and in literature. In John Keats? ?Ode to a Nightingale,? three important romanticism characteristics were used in order to be significant towards romanticism?nature, imagination, and individualism. To represent nature, we see the poet relating to the happiness of the nightingale, and escaping reality for a second. Keats uses imagination, in order to lead the protagonist of the poem somewhere to escape reality as well. And finally, during the Romanticism Era, many were trying to find themselves in the middle of this new way of living. ...read more.

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