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GCSE: John Keats
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Compare the Way in which the Romantic poet Keats presents paradox and contrast with close reference to at least three poems
The odes were his most personal forms of poetry. Because of his life; the death of his brother, his diagnosis of tuberculosis, and his experience of rejection by women, his poems include negative capability. This is the ability to contemplate the world without having to understand the principals behind what you are seeing; the philosophy of his poems. In Keats' letter to his brothers, December 1817, he wrote, "I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason."
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Rousseau stated that 'I felt before I thought' captured the spirit of the Romantic Movement. Referring in detail to one of Keats' poems, illustrate the qualities which make Keats a Romantic poet.
In 1811 Keats became the apprentice of an apothecary and it was during this time that he became particularly interested in poetry. In 1815 he left his apprenticeship to take up medicine at Guy's Hospital. Within a year, however, Keats had abandoned this profession for poetry. He soon became part of a group of writers including the famous Romantic poet Shelley. Keats' first collection of poetry was published in March 1817, but did not sell well. Following a tour to the Lake District in 1818, Keats returned to find his brother Tom dying.
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Rich Sensuousness, well-wrought form and depth of thought are characteristics of Keats poetry. By means of a comparative study examine how Keats poetry reflects these features.
The poet commands us to glut first on the rose; then on the rainbow momentarily created as a wave breaks in the sunlight on the sea; and again on flowers, now the blooms of the peony. The lines containing these commands are heavy with synaesthesia, one of Keats favorite stylistic devices, which consist in mingling the impressions of two or more senses into a single image. The rose, for instance, is obviously a delight to see and to smell, but this is a mourning rose, a blossom at its freshest and best, and the poet bids us to enjoy it so completely as to taste it.
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Stanza I. The poet falls into a reverie while listening to an actual nightingale sing. He feels joy and pain, an ambivalent response. As you read, pick out which words express his pleasure and which ones express his pain and which words express his intense feeling and which his numbed feeling. Consider whether pleasure can be so intense that, paradoxically, it either numbs us or causes pain. What qualities does the poet ascribe to the nightingale? In the beginning the bird is presented as a real bird, but as the poem progresses, the bird becomes a symbol.
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Compare and contrast Keats' presentation of time, transience and mortality in "Ode to Autumn" with that in "Ode on a Grecian Urn and "Ode to Nightingale".
Keats wants to escape from this depression and also the knowledge of mortality. The main idea of this escapism shows Keats trying to go back to the state of Innocence; he may feel that he wants to be able to enjoy his life with his brother again and to also not have to worry about life's troubles. In "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and "Ode to a Nightingale" envy can be linked to escapism, as Keats feels this envy he gets led to wanting to find escapism. In "Ode on a Grecian Urn" Keats writes "Thou foster-child of silence and slow time" (line 2)
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However a young Knight comes to see her while she sleeping. The girl wakes up, they fall in love, consummate, and in the morning leave. Keats has used the Romantic theme of Williams Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in his poem. There is a feud between the young girls family and the Knights family. Just as in Romeo and Juliet. The introduction to Keats's poem sets the scene. "St Agnes Eve, Ah bitter chill it was! The owl for all his feathers was a cold." Keats describes how cold it its outside on the winter night, and uses the animals to emphasise the freezing weather.
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Compare the ways in which Keats addresses personal concerns in "Ode to a Nightingale and "When I have fears".
sad, last grey hairs, where youth grow pale, and spectre thin, and dies, where to think is full of sorrow and leaden-eyed despairs, where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes or new love pine at them beyond tomorrow". He is trying to realise the inevitability of death and recalls how he has often tempted Death, personifying Death and calling 'him' in 'soft names in many a mused rhyme'. He longs to transcend his meagre existence through the means of poetry: 'On the viewless wings of Poesy'.
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`A thing of beauty is a joy forever` - How far and in what ways does Keats communicate this belief in his odes.
The first line introduces us to the personified autumn. The exclamatory phrase `mellow fruitfulness` heightens the syntax tone immediately and prepares the reader for a stanza rich in tactile and visual images which intensify this opening. The beauty of autumn is emphasised through phrases like; `ripeness to the core`, `swell the gord`, ` o'verbrimmed their clammy cells'. Keat's use of the adjective `plump` as a verb excels this `ripeness` and together intensifies the beauty, which is emphasised through the repetition of `more` and `still more`. Keats almost forces his subject at us.
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Shortly after his brother's death, Keats died of Tuberculosis at the young age of twenty-four. During his illness, he became aware of time passing and of change in the world of nature. In the brief time that he had left, he composed some of the most inspirational and best poems ever written. Keats wrote his poems, with his attitudes towards death and released in them. He loved nature and the paranormal world, and he portrayed his interests into his poetry, they appeared in the two poems I have studied by him. 'To Autumn' is one of his poems that I have studied, this poem has a very positive attitude towards death, and it shows not a complete end but the end of one thing and the start of something new.
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Analyse the different attitudes the poets John Keats and P.B. Shelley have towards nature in the poems "Ode To A Nightingale," "Ode On A Grecian Urn," "Ode To Autumn," "Ode To The West Wind" and "To A Skylark."
Keats therefore shares his obsession with the subject of "silence and slow time." For him, the stagnant picture on the Grecian urn is far more superior to the flux in human life. To John Keats, even the nightingale is an "immortal bird" which has filled entire "generations" with "harmonious madness."(To a skylark.) Thus to Keats, Man is only symbolic to an individual who will one day "grow pale and spectre-thin," but the nightingale represents an entire species which owns both, symphony and "full-throated ease." Another Romantic poet whose ideas coincide with Keats' is Dylan Thomas.
- Word count: 2800