Essay on Exploring How Keats Finds Beauty In Death

Essay on Exploring How Keats Finds Beauty In Death

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There is no life without death, and no death without life. Life and death mutually define each other and without one, the other would have no meaning. Keats was an English poet very concerned with death and human mortality. His poems usually deal with his struggle to accept his own mortality and his attempt to flee from reality into a world of immortality. This poem, “To Autumn”, which Keats wrote after observing an autumn evening, is seemingly simplistic and purely descriptive. However, underneath the surface, Keats has finally begun to accept the difficult truth that death is inevitable. Through the poem “To Autumn”, Keats urges humankind to accept death as a natural part of human life and to recognize the beauty in death.
The first stanza is crowded with sensual and concrete images of nature and its ripeness during the first stages of Autumn. Autumn is characterized as a “season of…mellow fruitfulness” (1). It is a season that “bend[s] with apples the mossed cottage-trees” (5), “fill[s] all fruit with ripeness to the core” (6), “swell[s] the gourd, and plump[s] the hazel shells” (7), and “set[s] budding more” (8). The verbs that Keats uses represent the bustling activity of Autumn and also reflect the profusion of growth. Autumn also acts as the subject of all the verbs, indicating its dynamic behavior. Furthermore, the multitude of these images depicting the ripening of nature contributes to the sense of abundance that characterizes the first stanza. The stanza also contains many short phrases, again calling up images of abundance. Keats, through his use of sensual imagery, draws readers into the real world where there will ultimately be decay and death. The sound devices in this stanza further develop the sensual imagery and...


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...ecian Urn”, “To Autumn” takes place in the real world and does not mention immortality. In “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, Keats attempts to grasp the apparent immortality of the urn he is observing. He envies the timelessness of the figures on the urn and the happiness those figures seem to enjoy. Keats also envies the nightingale in “Ode to a Nightingale” and its natural happiness that is only possible because it transcends time. Trapped in time, Keats believes that he can only ever be happy through intoxication, which provides an escape from the real world. Until he wrote “To Autumn”, Keats considers immortality and timelessness as the keys to experience happiness and the beauty of the world. However, in “To Autumn”, Keats remains in reality, far from the improbable ideas of eternal life, and seems to both accept death and find the intrinsic beauty death can bring to life.

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