keats poems analysis

By Jerome Gomez,2014-10-18 02:46
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keats poems analysis

     Keats poems analysis

    1. Biography

    John Keats was one of the greatest English poets and a major figure in the Romantic Movement. He was born in 1795 in London. His parents died when he was young; thus he was drawn particularly close to his brothers. M4Encouraged by his teacher, he threw himself headlong into reading. Yet he was pull out of school by his practical-minded guardian and apprenticed to a pharmacist-surgeon. However, Keats continued to read with his former teacher. After four years of unhappy apprenticeship, he left the surgeon eon and entered Guy’s Hospital in

    London to continue his medical studies. At the age of twenty-one, he abandoned medicine for poetry

     At first, Keats wrote some poems of little

    artistic importance. Then, he spent a whole night

    to read George Chapmans translation of Homer

and produced his first major poem, On First

    Looking into Chapman Homer. Keats first

    volume of poems, which was published in 1817 when he was twenty-one, contained some

    delightful harsh attacks and clearly displayed most of his b chief tendencies. It attracted some good reviews, but these were followed by the first of

    s Magazine. attacks by the influential Blackwood

    Undoubted by failure, he published

    Endymion(1818), a long allegorical poem ,but it received even worse review . He had a sound philosophy about learning from failure. He said,

    In Endymion, I leaped headlong into the Sea, and thereby have become better green acquainted with the soundings, the quick sands, and the rocks, than if I had stayed upon the shore, and piped a silly pipe ,and took tea and comfortable advice …I

    was never afraid of failure; for I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest.

     Later Keats set on a working a tour of the

    northern British Isles, during which contracted

    the first symptom of tuberculosis and had to

    return, to London .There he found that his brother Tom was gravely ill with tuberculosis, so he devoted himself to caring Tom until his death in 1818. After that, Keats fell into love with Fanny Brawne, who lived next door. During this period he was struggling with his own failing health, financial problem and the emotional strain of his secret love. Yet this was also his golden era with an astonishing amount of poetry composed, including Lamia,

    The Eve of St Agnes, La Belle Dame sans

    merci, Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on

    Melancholy, Ode to Psyche, Ode on a

    Grecian Urn and To Autumn. All these

    poems were published in 1819. His second volume of poems appeared in July in 1820. However, his tuberculosis made it impossible for him to keep up his creative momentum. In a desperate attempt to prolong his life his friend took him Italy. He died in Rome at the age of twenty-six and buried there. At his request, hi marker bore no name with only an epitaph

    written, Here lies one whose name was writ in


     Keats poems see his assimilation with all

    the riches of the Greek imagination. Apart

    from ecstatic delight, his poems reveal mostly

    moods of pensiveness, languor, or romantic

    sadness. His poetic expressions is beautiful,

    apt, vivid, condensed, and with imagination


     2. Keats and Romanticism

     Keats belonged to a literary movement

    called Romanticism. Romantic poets, because of their theories of literature and life, were drawn to lyric poetry; they even developed a new form of ode, often called the romantic meditative ode.

     The literary critic Jack Stillinger describes the typical movement of romantic ode: The poet, unhappy with the real world, escapes and attempts to

    escape into the ideal. Disappointed with his mental flight, he returns to the real world. Usually he returns because human beings cannot live in the ideal or because he has not found what he was seeking. But the experiences changes his

    understanding of his situation, of the world etc; his views/feelings at the end of the poem differ significantly from those he held at the beginning of the poem.

    3. Themes in Keatss Poems

     Douglas Bush noted that Keatss most important

    poems are related to, or growth directly out of .inner conflicts. For example, pain and

    pleasure are intertwined in Ode to a Nightingale

    and “Ode on a Grecian Urn; love is intertwined

    with pain and pleasure is intertwined with death in La Belle Dame Sans Merci; or, the Pot of Basil.

    Cleanth Brooks defines the paradox that is a

theme of Ode to a Nightingale somewhat

    differently: the world of imagination offers release from the painful world of the actuality, at the same time it renders the world of actuality more painful by contrast.

    Other conflicts appear in Keatss poetry:

    ; Transient sensation or passion / enduring art

    ; Dream or vision / reality

    ; Joy / melancholy

    ; The ideal / the real

    ; Mortal / immortal

    ; Life / death

    ; Separation / connection

    ; Being immersed in passion / desiring to

    escape passion

    Keats associated love and pain both in his life and in his poetry. He wrote of a young woman he found attractive, When she comes into a room she makes the impression the same as the Beauty of Leopardess intertwined in Isabella; or, the Pot of

Basil, Bright Star, The Eve of At.Agnes, and

    La Belle Dame Sans Merci. The fatal woman (the

    woman whom it is destructive to love, like Solome, Lilith, and Cleopatra, appears in La Belle Dame

    Sans Merci” “Lamia.)

     Identity is an issue in his poet and for the dreamers in his odes and narrative poems .Of the poetic character ,he says , “…it is not itself-it has no

    self-it has every thing and nothing-it has no character-it enjoys light and shade-it lives in gusto, be it foul or fair, high or low, right or poor, mean or elevated…” He calls the poet chameleon

     Harold and Broom Lionel and Trilling

    summarize Keatss world view succinctly:

     Beyond the uncompromising sense that we are completely physical in a physical world, and the allied realization that we know or understand, there is

    a third quality in Keats more clearly than present than in any other poet since Shakespeare.

     This is the gift of tragic acceptance which persuades us Keats was the least solipsistic of poet, the one most able to grasp the individuality and

    reality of selves totally distinct from his own, and of an outward world that would survive his perception of it.

    They believe that Keats came to accept this world, the here and now, as the ultimate value.

     4. Keatss Odes

     All written in May 1819, “Ode to a Nightingale,

    Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode on melancholy

    grow out of a persistent kind of experience which dominated Keatss feelings, attitudes ,and thoughts at that time. Each of them is a unique experience, but each of them is also, as it were, a facet of a larger experience. This larger experience is an intense awareness of both joy and pain, the happiness and sorrow, of human life. This awareness is feeling and becomes also thought, a kind of brooding as the poet sees them in others and feels them in him. This

    awareness is not only feeling; it becomes also thought, a kind of brooding contemplation of the lot of human beings, who must satisfy their desire for happiness in a world where joy and pain are inevitably and inextricably tied together. The union of joy and pain , the fundamental fact of human experience that Keats has observed and accepted as true.

     Wright Thomas Stuart Gerry Brown

In Ode to a Nightingale and Ode on a Grecian

    Urn, Keats tried to free himself from the world of change by identifying the nightingale, representing nature, or the urn, representing arts. Those odes, as well as The Ode to Psyche and Ode to

    Melancholy, present the poet as dreamer; the

    question in these odes, as well as in La Belle Dame

    Sans Merci and The Eve of At.Agnes, is a

    positive experience which enriches him dreamer? Or is it a negative experience which has the potential to cut off the dreamer from the real world and destroy him? What happens to the dreamers who do not

    awaken from the dream or do not awaken soon enough

     5. Keatss Imagery

     Keatss imagery ranges among all our physical sensations: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell, weight, pressure, hunger, thirst, sexuality, and movement. Keats repeatedly combines different senses in one image, that is, he attributes the trait of one sense to another, a practice called synaesthesia. His

    synaesthesia imagery performs of major functions in his poems: it is part of their sensual effect, and combining of senses normally experienced as separate suggests an underlying unity of dissimilar happenings, the oneness of all forms of life. Richard H.Forgle calls these images the product of his unrivaled ability to absorb, sympathize with, and humanize natural objects.

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