Ode on a grecian urn meaning. Themes in Ode on a Grecian Urn 2019-02-12

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SparkNotes: Keats’s Odes: Ode on a Grecian Urn

ode on a grecian urn meaning

The poem represents three attempts at engaging with the urn and its scenes. We get those two stanzas about the young lovers, and now he moves on to another picture on the urn. It is not clear if this phrase is said by the urn or by the poet. He says: What men or gods are these? This only changed with the Romantic Period, to which Keats can be counted. You can't have sex with her, but she's never going to get old; you're kind of perpetually stuck in this wooing stage; you're gazing at her for all time and she's always going to be pretty. Summary Keats' imagined urn is addressed as if he were contemplating a real urn.

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SparkNotes: Keats’s Odes: Ode on a Grecian Urn

ode on a grecian urn meaning

The ancient Greeks used to sing their odes. Below is an example of a Grecian urn though not the one that inspired Keats! Stanza 5: Line 41: O Attic shape! But you have to admit that it sounds cool. An urn is a sort of vase. You're kind of perpetually frustrated but you're also perpetually in love. Some think that Keats wrote this statement offhandedly, as a way to close the poem, and that is has no inherent meaning. Before we get to 'Ode on a Grecian Urn,' we're going to talk about Grecian urns in general.

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Ode on a Grecian Urn: Analysis & Interpretation

ode on a grecian urn meaning

This is one complex poem for sure! The scene elicits some thoughts on the function of art from Keats. The narrator comforts the man, who he acknowledges will never be able to kiss his companion, with the fact that she will never lose her beauty as she is frozen in time. Is art - can art ever be - a substitute for real life? Literally speaking, the speaker is addressing the art on the urn. The poem pulls images, figures, and ideas from the ceaseless flow of life and distills them for study and reflection. It repeats the same lesson to every generation: that truth and beauty are the same thing, and this knowledge is all we need to make it through life. He is tempted by their escape from temporality and attracted to the eternal newness of the piper's unheard song and the eternally unchanging beauty of his lover. The debate is by no means settled.


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Ode on a Grecian Urn Poem by John Keats

ode on a grecian urn meaning

The men or gods are smitten with love and are pursuing them. In terms of the theme of pain-joy, what is Keats saying in lines 1-4, which describe the procession? This is where we come to the conclusions he draws. But in any case, facing the object itself, the poet is not talking about its visual value — of its form or its colors — but the fact that it transcends time and is capable of seeing, through language, what an object does not show at first sight and what only a poet can see in a funerary urn. Line 37: Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn? In this scene, a young man is sat with a lover, seemingly playing a song on a pipe as they are surrounded by trees. Yet that truth is that perfect beauty can only exist as it does on the urn: captured, frozen, artificial.

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on a Grecian by John Keats (read by Tom O'Bedlam)

ode on a grecian urn meaning

Keats uses a Grecian urn as a symbol of life. The urn becomes the subject of the poem, so all of the ideas and thoughts are addressed towards it. Second, if we view it as Keats' message, then he is trying to tell the urn that for the latter, it has only to know of its beauty and consider it to be the ultimate truth, but in real life, that is not possible because there is a whole lot more to mankind that just art and beauty. It looks like a bunch of guys are chasing beautiful women through the forest. Line 44: Thou, silent form! If you really think about the 2600 years that have passed since pots of this type were made in Ancient Greece, and all the people who have lived and died since then, and all the wars that have been fought and all the destruction that has ravaged the world, then you will begin to see what astonished Keats. And so Keats can take pleasure in the thought that the music will play on forever, and although the lover can never receive the desired kiss, the maiden can never grow older nor lose any of her beauty. A dale is also a valley.

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on a Grecian

ode on a grecian urn meaning

No matter how you read the last two lines, do they really mean anything? So as generations passed, it stays to tell the present generation what the previous one was like. But not just happy as in simply content. What men or gods are these? Analysis: The poem's main topic is the idealized world depicted on a Grecian urn, a realm not subject to the passage of human time. So if you were in love with someone you could write them an ode. How does he portray real life, actual passion in the last three lines? The urn is old and Keats is acting as the interpreter of the urn. What town do they come from? The people in the scene are on their way to the sacrifice, so their town will forever be empty and silent. It links the urn to nature's transcendence.

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Ode on a Grecian Urn Summary

ode on a grecian urn meaning

Is he describing a temporary or a permanent condition? Beyond functioning effectively as a formal poetic device, the parallel construction of both parts of the lines reveals two paradoxes Keats wishes the reader to consider. In this way, the artist and the object of their art transcend. The urn teases him out of thought, as does eternity; that is, the problem of the effect of a work of art on time and life, or simply of what art does, is a perplexing one, as is the effort to grapple with the concept of eternity. A man is whispering sweet nothings to a Grecian urn, an ancient Greek pot that is covered in illustrations. The third stanza again focuses on the same two lovers but turns its attention to the rest of the scene. His feelings seem confused, as he is torn between jealousy and bitterness that the urn will live forever and be remembered when he is long dead and forgotten, and pity for this inanimate object that has no experience of life, despite its endurance through the ages.

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Ode on a Grecian Urn by Keats: Analysis and Summary

ode on a grecian urn meaning

And then you feel the sense of awe that Keats felt when confronted by the mind-boggling age of the urn. It follows the iambic pentameter, with ten lines in each stanza. This is pretty much the cold shower he needed. Line 17: Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, The lover will never get the kiss he is waiting for. It might not seem like it on the surface, but this is a sexy poem.

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