John Keats's Ode to Indolence Essay

John Keats's Ode to Indolence Essay

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John Keats has many memorable and distinct poems. He is well known for his ability to write and adored by many. Ode on Indolence is a poem that can be relatable to its readers due to its idea of how indolence interferes with life’s opportunities, in particular the three mentioned in the poem, love, ambition and poesy. Keats refers to these three figures as “ghosts” (51) therefore insinuating that they once lived, but now they are mere figments of energy and air.
Keats’ poem six stanzas of ten lines each in iambic pentameter, he begins his poem with a passage from Matthew 6:28, “They toil not, neither do they spin”, he uses this as reference for describing the three figures of the poem. In other, simpler words, he is saying that the figures do not work hard, relating somewhat to the title. The speaker of the poem sees but does not identify the figures in the first or second stanzas. Instead in the first stanza, he describes the first two times he encounters them. The first being graceful, “like figures on a marble urn” (5). The second time they appear, they become strange characters, the speaker says that they are “shades” (7) and they are strange to him, unlike before. The second stanza then begins and immediately, they are no longer figures but shadows, “How is it, shadows, that I knew ye not?” (11). Already the readers begin to see that these forms are taking on an image that is a copy of something other. While love may be copying emotions, or fulfilling them, ambition is the copy image of hard work, while poesy is the reproduction of both the emotions and hard work. The speaker then continues to digress into a speech of why he does not understand the slyness of the shadows. He believes that they are there to take away his la...


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...nts to do, write. This is a well-acknowledged disadvantage of being a writer of any sort today it is referred to as writer’s block and many writers find themselves unable to write a sentence of complete a poem/story.
Keats writes encouragingly to every aspiring author as well as every past author. Ode on Indolence is a perfect example of how large passions such as love and ambition may not be the only motivating factors to writing. He allows the readers of this poem to understand the reality of what discouragement truly does; it creates an atmosphere that writers have difficulty getting past. The poem expresses this clearly throughout the stanzas and Keats does not allow readers to forget what indolence truly is.



Works Cited

Keats, John. “Ode on Indolence”. Romanticism An Anthology. Ed. Duncan Wu. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2012. 1470-1471. Print.

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