• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13

The interplay of dreams and reality is frequently found within John Keats' poems.

Extracts from this document...


INTRODUCTION The interplay of dreams and reality is frequently found within John Keats' poems. In these poems, Keats uses his imaginative literature to help him to escape from the real world. Keats' mind drifts between an almost permanent and unchanging dream world full of great beauty and perfection, in comparison to reality, where he believes everything is subject to mutability and decay. Through this Keats presents a regret that nothing in reality lasts forever as although the world is full of beauty this beauty shall not last. Particularly in the poems, "Ode on a Grecian Urn," and "Ode to Nightingale," Keats presents this regret of impermanence strongly. Thus, through this interplay of dreams and reality Keats portrays his interpretation of the world. As Fred Inglis argues in his book 'Keats,' by contrasting himself with the 'detached' poet, Keats defined his poetic process as a complete absorption of his whole being in the object of contemplation, so that he lost his own 'identity' and took on its nature. Keats himself in fact, often refers to the idea of the "chameleon poet." I believe this helps Keats to fully explore his idealised dream world and thus demonstrates effective use of interplay between dreams and reality. Keats explores this world of idealism steered by the active imagination, and fuses reality with an imaginative ideal world. H.W. Garrod, author of 'Keats' believes that Keats preferred to remain with 'poetry of reality', eschewing this 'world of idealism', and through doing this the author believes Keats was able to dabble in the politics of republicanism and discuss his own views on the world. Thus it is necessary to examine both the relationship of dreams and reality found in Keats' poems and the significance if dreams in Keats' presentation of the world. CHAPTER ONE 'ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE' Firstly, it is necessary to study the interplay between dreams and reality in the poem 'Ode to a Nightingale,' by Keats. ...read more.


Unheard melodies, then, containing as they do, infinite possibilities of melody, must be sweeter than any number of heard melodies, which after all, are merely transient and inevitably flawed. I believe this shows that the urn, like the "unheard melodies", is represented to us as a type of Platonic pure form, existing outside the time, communicating extravagant sound and motion while itself remaining silent and still. In addition, the figures in the dream world of the urn, beauty and perfection last forever unlike reality: "Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss... She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss / For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!" This however, I feel, also shows us that the perfect and immortal beauty which the figures on the urn enjoy has been achieved at the sacrifice of sensual experience; the pleasure of the lovers, always just about to kiss, is offset by their inability to complete the act. In the third stanza Keats has escaped himself and entered and bonded with the life of the urn. This stanza of the poem continues the development of this contrast between immortality and the dream world of the urn in contrast to reality and the human experience. The word "happy" is repeated several times. I believe Keats cannot put this great happiness into words, happiness is an almost exalted mystical state. Unlike anything in the world, the urn is both vital and timeless. However, as in 'Ode to a Nightingale' the poet returns to the unpleasant realities of the human world: "That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd / A burning forehead, and a parching tongue." In the last stanza the urn is now portrayed as an "Attic shape! Fair attitude! With brede(embroidery)" It is no longer a living thing, it is now an object, a shape. The poet has "withdrawn" from his imaginative dream world back to reality. ...read more.


On a fairly simple level, sleep here is to rest; it is ease and escape, refreshing the mind and body, and offering relief from the hard realities of daily life. Thus I believe this again demonstrates Keats desire to enter a dream world and escape from reality. This is shown when Keats conveys poetry as offering relief from the ever-present consciousness and is therefore "higher beyond thought." Keats shows that sleep is also important for the creative mind; it is "the silence when some rhymes are coming out." In my opinion, the poet believes that a state of calm such as sleep is an essential state of mind if the imagination is to function at its best. Furthermore, Keats portrays sleep as an escape from emotional turmoil, not just from s****l yearnings but also from the conscience, change, uncertainty and politics, which are all present in reality. Again, Keats focuses on the harsh realities of our mortal world which he desires to escape from, sleep enables him to do so. In the sense of a "higher consciousness" sleep is portrayed as another metaphor of the imagination. Keats describes linking the imagination with sleep. I think that this is created through dreams. Keats tries to describe his view of the imagination: "All imaginings will hover/ Round my fire-side, and haply there discover Vistas of solemn beauty..." I think that this means, for Keats the imagination is similar to dreaming and is thus beyond his control, and hence "we must ever wonder how." Perhaps here, Keats is trying to suggest that there is mystery surrounding poetic creativity. Yet, at the same time, it works a mysterious creativity deep in the unconscious. It is something that must be allowed space and tranquillity to "meander." As in 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' and 'Ode to a Nightingale' dreams are synonymous with profound insights made possible by the imagination, usually through changing reality. I think that Keats uses dreams both as a great means of escaping harsh reality and as a way of switching off the rational mind. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level 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 AS and A Level John Keats essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Using 'Ode on Melancholy' and one other, examine how Keats uses language to explore ...

    4 star(s)

    Similarly, the rain temporarily hides the hill yet the hill is still "green" which represents fertility, lushness and beauty, and it retains these qualities whether we can see them at that particular moment or not. The rain, which cuts visibility, is called a "shroud," a death reference, but the month

  2. How successfully does Keats address the theme of love and loss in La Belle ...

    Then the knight wakes finding himself alone "on the cold hill side". The woman seduced and tempted the knight towards her, making him forget about his duties, but when the knight is truly in love with her she leaves him, alone, desolate and "cold".

  1. ode to a nightingale analysis

    and dies it is not permanent and only thinking evokes sorrow and despair. He wants to leave the world where beauty and love are both impermanent and temporary. He assumes that the nightingale has no problems. This is not practical, even though the nightingale dose not have human problems it

  2. How does Keats appeal to the senses in Ode to the Nightingale

    Hence the reader understands the magnitude of what Keats feels and the vividness of the senses experienced. To free his mind from its natural constraints and to further enjoy the pleasure to the senses that the birdsong brings. Keats longs for alcohol that he does not have; "O, for a draught of vintage".

  1. Write a detailed critical analysis of “When I have fears that I may cease ...

    Also in this quartet, he realises life's transient nature, that it is continually moving onwards, and coupled with this realisation is the inner call for immediacy to his work. Of unreflecting love! - then on the shore Of the wide world I stand alone, and think Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

  2. Keats Connects With Beauty, in

    Furthermore, Keats said that the bird would continue to sing long after Keats' had "ears in vain" (59). By putting the bird's music in the past, the present and the future, Keats universalized this song throughout time, making the bird immortal.

  1. Ode To A Nightingale/ Ode On A Grecian Urn - comparison

    This is displayed when Keats wishes for a wine "Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene" (1.16). Hippocrene is the fountain sacred to the Muses, beings of inspiration for artists and poets. Inspired by the bird Keats wishes to "leave the world unseen" (1.19)

  2. How is Romanticism conveyed in Keats To Autumn'?

    Also, the fact he refers to the day as ?dying? could be a metaphor for his own family?s deaths. After Keats describing the autumn day to be a beautiful one, seeming as though he is at peace with it, it dies.

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