Ode To A Nightingale

Good Essays
Ode To A Nightingale

Choose a poem which you think could be described as a “quiet” or

“reflective” poem.

Show how the poet has achieved this effect and discuss to what extent

you find it a suitable way of dealing with the subject matter in the


In your answer you must refer closely to the text and to at least two

of mood; theme; sound; imagery; rhythm or any other appropriate


“Ode To A Nightingale” by John Keats is a poem which Keats wrote when

he was dying. Due to this, the poem is extremely reflective on the

things Keats considers important to him, namely life, death and his

imagination. By using the nightingale to embody these aspects, Keats

is effective, in my opinion, in attempting to deal with the matter at

hand, and involving me in his struggle between life and death.

One of the things which the nightingale represents to Keats is death.

This is not surprising as he is near death and so it is influencing

the way he thinks. At times Keats welcomes death and at other times is

undecided, but always the nightingale is used as a representation for


“That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,

And with thee fade away into the forest dim:”

He is talking to the nightingale here, telling it that he will go with

it, into the forest. Here the nightingale signifies death and Keats is

wishing to follow it, to, in effect, die. Keats uses the metaphor of

fading to show his transition into death. This use of imagery

emphasizes the reflective nature of Keats, and I find it a very

effective way to show how he is thinking.

As the nightingale represents death, Keats embraces it and sees it as

the only real painless way.

“I have been half in love with easeful Death,


... middle of paper ...

...other groan;

Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs,

Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;”

Conversely, this shows life as a painful thing, from which Keats wants

release. He has made his mind up as to what life is like for him and

others. This contemplation shows where he is in his life and musings.

It seems Keats is prepared to die, and this shows that.

In conclusion, Keats makes the poem very reflective by reflecting on

the meaning of life through a nightingale. For Keats, the nightingale

represents, in essence, the cycle of life, and shows that death an

exist along with life. The bird also represents Keats imagination, and

this he also reflects on, along with the complexity of life and death.

I think that Keats was very effective is achieving a reflective poem

which deals with the intricacy of death and the agony of life.
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