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Thread: ode on a grecian urn

  1. #1
    caitlin caitlin123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    australia: perth

    Unhappy ode on a grecian urn

    hey guys
    does anyone know how the poem "ode on a grecian urn" was significant to its writer: keats? why did he write it? how does it affirm keats views on god/religion, society and major life events (ie. death/birth)......what are keats views on those issues??? LOL struggling

    thnx =]
    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind!

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Hi Caitlin,

    Truth be told I've never really thought too much about Keats' 'Ode' in those terms - I've generally viewed it as an expression of his idea of Negative Capability - the stock definition of which seems to be 'the human capacity not to know', but I personally prefer to define it as 'the appreciation of things as they are', i.e. rather than having a need to know and understand them in rational, complex/intellectual way. This is embodied by the famous concluding lines, 'beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.'
    I think Keats saw God as expressing Himself through beauty, and so He may be seen/appreciated in the simple beauty of nature.
    The urn itself is also richly symbolic of a number of things - memory, desire and beauty - fulfillment and satisfaction is found in the desire for things not had (hope and faith, for example) rather than things that are had. These things, not had, are experienced both through memory (longing for times gone by, e.g. nostalgia) and imagination. This is embodied in the line 'heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter'.
    There is much more in this beautiful, rich poem, which is one of my favourite poems.

    Anyway, hope that helps - I can write more if you like, but I've a notion this response is a little late - sorry about that, I only came across this site a few days ago! (Great to see a fellow Aussie as well!)

  3. #3
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    I have read it earlier and I recall it is something in praise of ancient Greece.

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

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