Examining The Grecian Urn By John Keats Essay

Examining The Grecian Urn By John Keats Essay

Length: 1250 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Examining the Grecian Urn”
John Keats’ poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn” tells the story of a man who finds an ancient urn and examines the images depicted on it marveling at the state of the urn’s beauty. He thinks of the urn as some kind of storyteller. As he inspects the images he wonders about the legends they recount and the place they came from. As he slowly turns the urn he first views a depiction of a group of men that seem to be following a group of women, he wonders what story the picture could be telling. He continues to turn the urn and he sees a picture of a boy playing a pipe while lying with his lover beneath a tree. He comments on the pipe’s melodies saying that they are sweeter than normal melodies because they are unheard and unchanged by time. (Havens 209-214.) He continues to examine the same image and feels happiness for the lovers because their songs are forever new, and their love will last forever. He comments that mortal love lapses and vanishes with little to show for it. He moves on to the next image and see that it is a group of villagers taking a cow to be sacrificed. He wonders where the villagers are taking the cow and tries to imagine their village. He sees it as being empty and silent because the villagers will never return. Finally, he views the urn as one whole again, he compares it to eternity and states that one day after his generation is gone the urn will still be here to teach others it’s mysterious lessons of truth and beauty. The poems theme is that of beauty and eternity, specifically of art. All of the images are depicted as being frozen and therefore beautiful because they are unchanged and eternal. In a way the poem achieves its own theme as it is still around after its creation years ago li...

... middle of paper ...

...ngs towards the nature of the lovers on the urn and their love (Napierkowski.) Once again personification is used in lines 21 and 22, the tree branches, or "boughs," are personified as being "happy," and they never say goodbye, or "adieu.” This reinforces the poems connection to the forest and plant life. (Mazzeno 1-3.)
Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is often referred to as his best work. Not only that but some even call it one of the greatest Romantic poems ever. The poem shows art as a representation of reality and outpouring of the soul. The last two lines however have been subject to much debate and criticism. Some say that they are a blemish on an otherwise magnificent piece and others argue over how to make sense of them. Whatever the case “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is a fantastic poem and has shown to have significant staying power in modern literature. (Trudeau.)

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Kubla Khan and Ode on Grecian Urn Essay

- Although both “Kubla Khan,” by Samuel Coleridge and “Ode on Grecian Urn,” by John Keats are poems originating from the poets’ inspiration from historical figure, the two poems convey different messages through their respective metaphors. While Coleridge emphasizes on the process of creating a Romantic poem, Keats expresses his opinion about art by carefully examining the details of the Grecian urn. In “Kubla Khan,” Coleridge expresses his desire to use the inspirations from nature to create his own “Paradise” of poetry (54, p.1634)....   [tags: Comparative, Coleridge, Keats]

Better Essays
826 words (2.4 pages)

Ode On A Grecian Urn By John Keats Essay

- John Keats ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ is one of the most enduring, timeless, romantic poems of 1819. It defines ‘romanticism’ not just in the literary sense, but in a modern sense filled with passion, imagination and individuality. I will examine how the idea of romanticism is portrayed through the beauty of art and nature, in contrast with the writer’s perspective on romanticism as a melancholic emotion. Furthermore, as Keats wrote the poem during his last few years on this Earth-whilst he was ill- it is said that he felt “like a living ghost”, so it is not surprising that the poem speaker is obsessed with the ideas of immortality, survival and death which I will be further examining in relatio...   [tags: Poetry, John Keats, Sonnet, Romanticism]

Better Essays
1057 words (3 pages)

Analysis Of ' Ode On A Grecian Urn ' Essay example

- Mood and Theme in “Ode on a Grecian Urn” The first stanza of a poem plays a vital role in developing the theme and mood of a poem. It gives insight on what the poem is going to be about. In John Keats work, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, a poem describing the life of a picture on an old urn, the first stanza of the poem does just that. The first stanza is written in Keats poem is an introduction to the old stories and pictures the urn displays: “Thou still unravish 'd bride of quietness, Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: What leaf-fring 'd legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both,...   [tags: Poetry, John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn]

Better Essays
978 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats

- Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats Summary In the first stanza, the speaker, standing before an ancient Grecian urn, addresses the urn, preoccupied with its depiction of pictures frozen in time. It is the "still unravish'd bride of quietness," the "foster-child of silence and slow time." He also describes the urn as a "historian," which can tell a story. He wonders about the figures on the side of the urn, and asks what legend they depict, and where they are from. He looks at a picture that seems to depict a group of men pursuing a group of women, and wonders what their story could be: "What mad pursuit....   [tags: Ode Grecian Urn John Keats Essays]

Better Essays
1531 words (4.4 pages)

Analysis Of The Poem ' Ode On A Grecian Urn ' Essay

- ... Keats forces the reader to believe that unheard melodies are sweeter. After these four lines it is no longer Keats’s story, poem, or writing but a viewer 's interpretation of what is shown on the Grecian Urn. “Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss.” The lover’s story is frozen in time on the Urn, therefore they will never kiss no matter how many times their story is seen. The Urn stops natural life and thus the lovers never age, but they never get to complete their love. They are taken out of time and frozen in eternity, and while they live forever they are never fulfilled....   [tags: Poetry, John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn, Rhyme]

Better Essays
769 words (2.2 pages)

Physical Value in Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn Essay

- Physical Value in Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn The poetry of John Keats contains many references to physical things, from nightingales to gold and silver-garnished things, and a casual reader might be tempted to accept these at face value, as simple physical objects meant to evoke a response either sensual or emotional; however, this is not the case. Keats, in the poem Ode Upon a Grecian Urn, turns the traditional understanding of physical objects on its head, and uses them not solid tangible articles, but instead as metaphors for and connections to abstract concepts, such as truth and eternity....   [tags: Ode on a Grecian Urn]

Better Essays
1384 words (4 pages)

Truth and Art: Keats's Ode on a Grecian Urn Essay

- Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" offers a paradoxical concept of Beauty. It describes the frozen beauty portrayed on the Urn as sweeter than reality, for its expiration is a locked impossibility. The lover's kiss is sweeter when in waiting, and her timeless beauty and devotion are worth the kiss's impossibility. Thus, the observation of beauty is more sweet than its reception, and objects in their prime are best just before their expiration. This poem is reminiscent of Shakespeare's sonnets in its zeal for permanent youth and disdain for time's drain on youth's beauty....   [tags: Ode on a Grecian Urn Essays]

Free Essays
394 words (1.1 pages)

Truth in Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn and Cummings' since feeling is first

- Truth in Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn and Cummings' since feeling is first Truth remains a mysterious essential: sought out, created, and destroyed in countless metaphysical arguments through time. Whether argued as being absolute or relative, universal or personal, no thought is perceived or conceived without an assessment of its truth. In John Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and E.E. Cummings' "since feeling is first" the concern is not specifically the truth of a thought, but rather, the general nature of truth; the foundation which gives truth is trueness ....   [tags: Ode Grecian Urn]

Better Essays
1807 words (5.2 pages)

John Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode to a Nightingale Essays

- John Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode to a Nightingale John Keats, in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and "Ode to a Nightingale" attempts to connect with two objects of immortality to escape from the rigors of human life. In "Ode to a Nightingale", Keats attempts to connect with a bird's song because the music knows nothing of aging and mortality. Keats has the same motivation in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" while trying to connect with three separate images on a mysterious urn. Connecting in this sense means to either fully understand the object or become the object itself....   [tags: Papers Keats Poem Poetry Essays]

Better Essays
1320 words (3.8 pages)

Keats and the Senses of Being: Ode on a Grecian Urn (Stanza V) Essay

- Keats and the Senses of Being: "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (Stanza V) ABSTRACT: With its focus on the pathos of permanence versus temporality as human aporia and on the function — the Werksein — of the work of art genuinely encountered, John Keats’s Ode on a Grecian Urn is a particularly compelling subject for philosophical analysis. The major explications of this most contentiously debated ode in the language have largely focused, however, on various combinations of the poem’s stylistic, structural, linguistic, psychological, aesthetic, historical, symbolic, and intellectual-biographical elements....   [tags: Keats Poem Ode Essays]

Better Essays
3370 words (9.6 pages)