Essay on “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”

Essay on “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”

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Of the five odes written by John Keats, this ode was written to show the beauty of love through a work of art. This work of art is a Grecian Urn, one side adorned with a woman being pursued by a “bold lover” and on the other a priest leading a heifer to be sacrificed. The beauty of this poem is given in five stanzas of iambic pentameter with a two part rhyme scheme, giving the poem a sense of a two part structure and, furthermore, two meanings just as there are two sides of the urn. The manifest meaning is one of the picture being timeless and the love eternal, while the latent meaning is that of silence and how love can be expressed without word or sound.
Keats begins this depiction of beauty in the first stanza by describing the woman, the “bride of quietness”. She is said to be the “foster-child of Silence and slow Time”; Keats uses the term foster-child to demonstrate the difference between the work of art and humanity. The woman is a foster-child of Time because she is “for ever young” and beautiful while the natural children of Time are forever changing and aging. Keats then goes on to say how the woman tells a “tale more sweetly than our own rhyme” (Wood, 1). The tale she tells is one of love, endearment, and the pursuit of love. Our rhyme could not possibly overpower the beauty of this tale of love when our words are forgotten as quickly as they are spoken. A piece of art, however, is eternal.
The second stanza begins to appeal to the underlying theme of silence. As the still work of art tells a tale more sweetly than our rhyme, so does the unheard melody sound sweeter than one that is heard. The speaker says to “pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone,” or to sing a song to the spirit that has no tone because the spiri...


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...ecian Urn" by John Keats(article) by Muhhammad Hesham." AuthorsDen. AuthorsDen, Inc, 16 September 2008. Web. 08 Mar 2010. .
Lien, Henry. "Deep Freezing in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and In Memoriam." The Victorian Web. VictorianWeb, July 2000. Web. 14 Mar 2010. .
Trumann, Alisa. "Poetry Analysis: Ode on a Grecian Urn, by John Keats - by Alisa Trumann." Helium. Helium, Inc, n.d. Web. 08 Mar 2010. .
Wood, Kerry. "Poetry Analysis: Ode on a Grecian Urn, by John Keats – by Kerry Wood." Helium. Helium, Inc, n.d. Web. 08 Mar 2010. .

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