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Inevitable Death In John Keats' Works

1035 words - 4 pages

Inevitable Death in John Keats's WorksJohn Keats wrote very deep poems at such a young age. Keats's poem, "Ode to a Nightingale," communicates a very morbid tone. The poem is about a depressed Keats who sees a glimmer inspiration in the form of a beautiful singing bird, a nightingale. Keats's poem "When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be" is another morbid poem, but on a whole different level. "Fears" is about Keats's struggle for life with his tuberculosis. It speaks of no hope but rather his unavoidable death. Although "Ode To a Nightingale" and "When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be" have a similar death inspired tone, they speak of death on different levels. "Nightingale" shows some hope to Keats's life while "Fears" speaks of death only."Ode to a Nightingale" was written in a spur of the moment in which Keats's was inspired by a singing bird. Keats starts off his poem with. "My heart aches, and drowsy numbness pains / My sense, as thought of hemlock I had drunk, / Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains" (Nightingale lines 1-3.) This shows Keats's present condition once he sees the Nightingale. He feels as if he has been intoxicated with the Nightingale's sheer beauty. Its wonderful voice has begun to dull his pain naturally. Keats is showing a glimmer of hope here by saying that the sweet melody takes him to a better place where he can forget his pain. Keats goes on to say, "Away! Away! For I will fly to thee, / Not charioted by Baechus and his pards, / But on the viewless wings of Poesy" (Nightingale lines 31-33.) Keats is saying how he will fly away with the bird with his poetry. He says that writing about this gracious creature lifts him up to a painless realm where he can feel good about himself. Stanza VI is the most moving stanza in this poem. The stanza relates how Keats is in such a happy place right now hearing the Nightingale's song that he wishes to die at that very moment. For once in his life he feels no pain writing about the Nightingale's tone. He says this by writing,Now more than ever seems it rich to die,To Cease upon the midnight with no pain,While though art pouring forth thy soul abroadIn such an ecstasy! (Nightingale lines 55-58)The songbird has taken him to such a wonderful "ecstasy" that his life would be fulfilled if he died at that very moment."When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be" is another melancholy poem about death. However, this poem does not leave the bittersweet taste as does "Nightingale." Keats felt no joy while writing this; he was merely sharing his view on his situation. The inspiration for this poem is said in the title. Keats feared that he would die before he fulfilled his life's work. He says,When I have fears that I may ceased to beBefore my pen has...

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