Ode Of A Nightingale By John Keats Essay

Ode Of A Nightingale By John Keats Essay

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“Ode to a nightingale”
Arguably one of John Keats’ most famous poems, “Ode to a nightingale” in and of itself is an allegory on the frail, conflicting aspects of life while also standing as a commentary on the want to escape life’s problems and the unavoidability of death. Keats’ poem utilizes a heavy amount of symbolism, simile and allusion to idealize nature as a perfect, almost mystical, world that holds no problems while using imagery taken from nature, combined with alliteration and assonance, to idealize the dream of escape from the problems life often presents; more specifically, aging and our inevitable deaths by allowing the reader to feel as if they are experiencing the speaker’s experience listening to the nightingale.
The poem’s own subject, the nightingale, acts as a continuous symbol throughout the piece. While birds mentioned or placed throughout numerous art forms often represent freedom, the nightingale, being a particularly melodic bird, has often been utilized as a symbol of art, and the perfect, immortal essence and beauty of nature. Even the speaker states “ thou wast not born for death, immortal bird !” in the very first line of the seventh stanza. The very concept of immortalizing the symbolic nature of this particular bird within a form as specific as an ode

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enhances the mythical and virtually unobtainable essence of freedom from life’s troubles.
Despite the speaker’s obvious admiration and romantic view of the nightingale, however, a realization that escaping the daily grind of life is impossible presents itself in the poem through a simile in the last stanza. “Forlorn! The very word like a bell/ to toll me back from thee to my sole self / Adieu! The fancy cannot cheat so well”. As forlorn ...


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...spheres around the world of the nightingale and the speaker’s; one being cheerful and light while the latter’s is made to appear more rushed or forced.
Keats’ “Ode to a nightingale”symbolizes nature as an escape from the natural misfortunes of life. The speaker’s almost hypnotic state throughout the poem idolizes the power of literature and poetry, as he is entranced by the nightingale’s song. By combining these themes with poetic devices such as symbolism, imagery, allusion, alliteration and assonance Keats creates a sense of connection between the reader and the speaker, almost allowing the reader to experience the speaker’s own actions and emotions. Through this connection, as well as through the poem’s overall tone, the reader can better grasp the concept of nature being the best alternative to human life, and how it remains immortal through art such as poetry.

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