Keats: A Life Lesson from A Piece of Marble

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Time is an ever constant moving aspect of life. It can build one up and tear one down

in an instance, for everything revolves around time. In John Keats’s ever famous poem “Ode On

A Grecian Urn” Keats ponders over the immortal world painted on the structure and the changing one in which all humans live in.

The structure that makes the poem is one of many characteristics, two being rhyme and meter. “Ode On A Grecian Urn” is dominantly iambic pentameter (with ten syllables per line and five feet) which gives the poem a nice flow. Each line begins with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed. For each of the five stanzas- five feet per line with ten lines which contain ten syllables in five stanzas, what a coincidence- the first seven lines have a rhyme scheme of ababcde. The next three lines however vary with each stanza; the first stanza ends with dce, the second stanza ced, the third cde, the fourth cde, and finally the fifth dce.

The second stanza seems to be the only stanza without a matching rhyme scheme; the first stanza has the fifth and the third has the fourth. This ‘lonesome’ stanza gives the poem a sense of imperfectness, just like the mortal life humans live in, whereas upon the urn life is ‘perfect’ and immortal.

Along the lines of stanzas, no pun intended, the poem creates a circle. Since the first and last stanza have a matching rhyme scheme, the poem revolves and then comes back to the beginning with a whole new perspective. In the first stanza it is being accepted that the urn is beautiful yet mysterious and in the fifth stanza, after a closer look, it is realized that it is not as ‘perfect’ as Keats first believed. One possible interpretation of why Keats crafted the poem int...

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...Charles. "Passion and Permanence in Keats's Ode on a Grecian Urn." Twentieth Century Interpretations of Keats's Odes. Ed. Jack Stillinger. New Jersey:

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-Wasserman, Earl. "Chapter Two: Discussions of Particular Poems "The Ode to a Grecian Urn"." Twentieth Century Views Keats A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Walter Jackson Bate. New Jersey:

Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1964. 119. Print.

-Cummings, Michael. "Ode on a Grecian Urn: a Study Guide." Cummings Study Guides. N.p., 2012. Web. 27 Feb 2012.

-zachsonn, . ""Ode on a Grecian Urn" Literary Analysis." Bookstove. N.p., October 13, 2010. Web. 27 Feb 2012. .

-Hirst, Wolf. John Keats. New York:

Twayne Publishers, 1981. 15, 16, 20.

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