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Background[ edit ] John Keats inpainted by his friend Joseph Severn By the spring ofKeats had left his job as dresser, or assistant house surgeon, at Guy's HospitalSouthwarkLondon, to devote himself entirely to the composition of poetry.
Living with his friend Charles Brown, the year-old was burdened with money problems and despaired when his brother George sought his financial assistance. These real-world difficulties may have given Keats pause for thought about a career in poetry, yet he did manage to complete five odes, including "Ode to a Nightingale", "Ode to Psyche", "Ode on Melancholy", "Ode on Indolence", and "Ode on a Grecian Urn".
Their exact date of composition is unknown; Keats simply dated "Ode on a Grecian Urn" Mayas he did its companion odes. While the five poems display a unity in stanza forms and themes, the unity fails to provide clear evidence of the order in which they were composed.
His idea of using classical Greek art as a metaphor originated in his reading of Haydon's Examiner articles of 2 May and 9 May In the first article, Haydon described Greek sacrifice and worship, and in the second article, he contrasted the artistic styles of Raphael and Michelangelo in conjunction with a discussion of medieval sculptures.
Many contemporary essays and articles on these works shared Keats's view that classical Greek art was both idealistic and captured Greek virtues. Although he was influenced by examples of existing Greek vases, in the poem he attempted to describe an ideal artistic type, rather than a specific original vase.
When he turned to the ode form, he found that the standard Pindaric form used by poets such as John Dryden was inadequate for properly discussing philosophy. Keats's creation established a new poetic tone that accorded with his aesthetic ideas about poetry.
He further altered this new form in "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by adding a secondary voice within the ode, creating a dialogue between two subjects.
Keats broke from the traditional use of ekphrasis found in Theocritus 's Idyll, a classical poem that describes a design on the sides of a cup. While Theocritus describes both motion found in a stationary artwork and underlying motives of characters, "Ode on a Grecian Urn" replaces actions with a series of questions and focuses only on external attributes of the characters.
The same overall pattern is used in "Ode on Indolence", "Ode on Melancholy", and "Ode to a Nightingale" though their sestet rhyme schemes varywhich makes the poems unified in structure as well as theme.
While ode-writers from antiquity adhered to rigid patterns of stropheantistropheand epodethe form by Keats's time had undergone enough transformation that it represented a manner rather than a set method for writing a certain type of lyric poetry.
Keats's odes seek to find a "classical balance" between two extremes, and in the structure of "Ode on a Grecian Urn", these extremes are the symmetrical structure of classical literature and the asymmetry of Romantic poetry.
The use of the ABAB structure in the beginning lines of each stanza represents a clear example of structure found in classical literature, and the remaining six lines appear to break free of the traditional poetic styles of Greek and Roman odes.
The poem contains only a single instance of medial inversion the reversal of an iamb in the middle of a linewhich was common in his earlier works.
However, Keats incorporates spondees in 37 of the metrical feet. Caesurae are never placed before the fourth syllable in a line. The word choice represents a shift from Keats's early reliance on Latinate polysyllabic words to shorter, Germanic words. In the second stanza, "Ode on a Grecian Urn", which emphasizes words containing the letters "p", "b", and "v", uses syzygythe repetition of a consonantal sound.
The poem incorporates a complex reliance on assonancewhich is found in very few English poems. Within "Ode on a Grecian Urn", an example of this pattern can be found in line 13 "Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd" where the "e" of "sensual" connects with the "e" of "endear'd" and the "ea" of "ear" connects with the "ea" of "endear'd".
A more complex form is found in line 11 "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard" with the "ea" of "Heard" connecting to the "ea" of "unheard", the "o" of "melodies" connecting to the "o" of "those" and the "u" of "but" connecting to the "u" of "unheard".
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness! Thou foster-child of silence and slow time lines 1—2 The urn is a "foster-child of silence and slow time" because it was created from stone and made by the hand of an artist who did not communicate through words. As stone, time has little effect on it and ageing is such a slow process that it can be seen as an eternal piece of artwork.
The urn is an external object capable of producing a story outside the time of its creation, and because of this ability the poet labels it a "sylvan historian" that tells its story through its beauty: What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both, In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What struggle to escape? What pipes and timbrels? There is a stasis that prohibits the characters on the urn from ever being fulfilled: The paradox of life versus lifelessness extends beyond the lover and the fair lady and takes a more temporal shape as three of the ten lines begin with the words "for ever".
The unheard song never ages and the pipes are able to play forever, which leads the lovers, nature, and all involved to be:Ode On A Grecin Urn Essay. Ode on a Grecian Urn Throughout his “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, Keats uses innocent, unfulfilled images painted on the urn, to demonstrate the theme of innocence and eternal beauty.
Ode on a Grecian Urn John Keats’s poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is about the images that are on the urn. The narrator comments on each of the several scenes that are illustrated on the urn. He says that the painting is silent and does not change. What is painted on the urn is there forever.
A Critical Analysis of Ode on a Grecian Urn Essay A Critical Analysis of Ode on a Grecian Urn The Romantic Period introduced a variety of writing styles. The authors of the early eighteenth century altered many of the earlier romantic pieces. A Critical Analysis of Ode on a Grecian Urn - A Critical Analysis of Ode on a Grecian Urn The Romantic Period introduced a variety of writing styles.
The authors of the early eighteenth century altered many of the earlier romantic pieces. The early writers primary area of concern was nature. Ode On A Grecian Urn - Critical Analysis First of all, when one starts to read this poem, one cannot help but think that the tone is one of happiness.
In fact, in the . "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is a poem written by the English Romantic poet John Keats in May and published anonymously in the January , Number 15, issue of the magazine Annals of the Fine Arts (see in poetry).