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Ode To A Nightingale Essay

751 words - 3 pages

Ode To A Nightingale

Choose a poem which you think could be described as a “quiet” or
“reflective” poem.

Show how the poet has achieved this effect and discuss to what extent
you find it a suitable way of dealing with the subject matter in the
poem.

In your answer you must refer closely to the text and to at least two
of mood; theme; sound; imagery; rhythm or any other appropriate
feature.

“Ode To A Nightingale” by John Keats is a poem which Keats wrote when
he was dying. Due to this, the poem is extremely reflective on the
things Keats considers important to him, namely life, death and his
imagination. By using the nightingale to embody these aspects, Keats
is effective, in my opinion, in attempting to deal with the matter at
hand, and involving me in his struggle between life and death.

One of the things which the nightingale represents to Keats is death.
This is not surprising as he is near death and so it is influencing
the way he thinks. At times Keats welcomes death and at other times is
undecided, but always the nightingale is used as a representation for
it.

“That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,

And with thee fade away into the forest dim:”

He is talking to the nightingale here, telling it that he will go with
it, into the forest. Here the nightingale signifies death and Keats is
wishing to follow it, to, in effect, die. Keats uses the metaphor of
fading to show his transition into death. This use of imagery
emphasizes the reflective nature of Keats, and I find it a very
effective way to show how he is thinking.

As the nightingale represents death, Keats embraces it and sees it as
the only real painless way.

“I have been half in love with easeful Death,

Call’d him soft names in many a muséd rhyme,

To take into the air my quiet breath;”

This image of death is very romantic. Here, Keats seems to like the
idea of dying. As this seems dreamlike, it adds to the reflection in
the poem, and the subtle sounds of “soft” and “quiet” add to this
dreamlike, reflective quality. This incredibly idealistic view perhaps
hides Keats’ true feelings in an attempt to reduce his fear of death,
a method which, to me, seems quite a natural way to deal with
impending death.

Along with death, the nightingale also seems to represent Keats’
imagination. At the start of the poem, he wishes to fuel his
imagination with...

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