Comparison: Ode To A Nightingale & Dover Beach

2365 words - 10 pages

John Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale,” and Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach” were written at different times by very different men; yet their conclusions about the human condition are strikingly similar. A second generation Romantic, Keats’s language is lush and expressive, strongly focused on the poet as an individual; while Arnold, a Victorian in era and attitude, writes using simple language, and is focused on the world in a broader context. While Keats is a young man, struggling with the knowledge he is soon to die; Arnold is a man newly married, to all accounts healthy, and with a long life ahead. Yet despite their differences in era and age, both Keats and Arnold write with similarly dark emotional imagery, jarring emotional contrast, and a consistent exploration of the effects that the natural sounds around them have on their minds and emotions in order to demonstrate that suffering is as incomprehensible a part of the human experience as it is inevitable.
Both “Ode to a Nightingale” and “Dover Beach” include at least one emotionally dark image in every stanza; in “Ode to a Nightingale” there is frequently more than one. From beginning to end the reader faces physical darkness and decay, images of dark places and cherished bastions of imagination corrupted, with “shadows numberless” (Keats 9) and “forest[s] dim” (20); “[f]ast-fading violets” (47) and “faery lands forlorn” (70). Additionally, emotional suffering pervades the atmosphere of the poem from Keats’s allusion to Socrates’ death by hemlock in line 2, to his summary of the human experience in stanza three, an experience of “[t]he weariness, the fever, and the fret/Here, where men sit and hear each other groan” (23-24). Keats also makes it clear that the realm of the mind does not escape the darkness, “where but to think is to be full of sorrow/And leaded-eyed despairs” (27-28), and “the dull brain perplexes and retards” (34). The reader is never granted respite for long from these distressing images, a technique that prepares them to accept that in the end, of the poem and of our lives, there is no purpose to the ceaseless suffering; and that the joy we experience along the way is fleeting and far away, “buried deep/In the next valley glades” (77-78).
Similarly, both Keats and Arnold make use of jarring emotional contrast to exemplify the inescapable sorrow inherent in the human condition. In “Ode to a Nightingale” the reader constantly reaches for understanding as Keats paints images of beauty and of joy, only to drop back into depression as he swiftly follows these joyous moments with correspondingly desolate images. In stanza two for example, Keats shares a rich, sensuous memory of wine, and invokes “Dance, and Provencal song, and sunburnt mirth [. . .] the warm South” (14-15), whimsically describing the wine with “beaded bubbles winking at the brim” (17), before ruthlessly establishing that the reader cannot be seduced by these images when he declares, “I might drink and leave the...

Find Another Essay On Comparison: Ode to a Nightingale & Dover Beach

Ode to a Nightingale Essay

1341 words - 5 pages Ode to a NightingaleIn his poem "Ode to a Nightingale," John Keats uses powerful, distinct symbolism and imagery. The nightingale, for instance, is interpreted by many to be a symbol of Keats' poetic inspiration and satisfaction. This symbolism can be seen by the vivid descriptions that Keats sees in the nightingale. However, the nightingale is definitely not the only item of symbolism in "Ode to a Nightingale." In a short piece of art, Keats

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

Ode To A Nightingale

637 words - 3 pages Ode to a Nightingale In Ode to a Nightingale, John Keats, the author and narrator, used descript terminology to express the deep-rooted pain he was suffering during his battle with tuberculosis. This poem has eight paragraphs or verses of ten lines each and doesn’t follow any specific rhyme scheme. In the first paragraph, Keats gave away the mood of the whole poem with his metaphors for his emotional and physical sufferings, for example: My

Keat's ode to a nightingale

1381 words - 6 pages Critical Appreciation of first stanza of Ode to a NightingaleThe first stanza basically shows how Keats is overcome by listening to the nightingale sind and he wants to abandon himself to a half-sleeping, half-waking sensation.The words used in this stanza have an underlying meaning. For example, when Keats says that his heart aches, it could be a reference to how he suffered psychollogically through his tuberculosis, it could also be a

Ode To A Nightingale by John Keats

1683 words - 7 pages Ode to Nightingale Analysis EssayIn the poem, "Ode to a Nightingale," written by John Keats, the speaker attempts to use a nightingale as a means of escaping the realities of human life. Throughout the poem Keats gradually discovers the concepts of creative expression and the morality of human life. The speaker is in search of the freedom that the nightingale so elegantly sings about. The nightingale's song of freedom is an expression of pure

"Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats

1148 words - 5 pages "Ode to A Nightingale" is a poem in which Keats uses detailed description to contrast natural beauty and reality, life and death. In the opening verse, the writer becomes captivated by the nightingale's peaceful song. Throughout, the song becomes a powerful spell that transcends the mortal world of Keats. Interwoven throughout the poem are his thoughts about death. It is important to note that Keats' father & mother died when he was young and

Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn, and Ode to Autumn

1518 words - 6 pages Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn, and Ode to Autumn The casual reader of John Keats' poetry would most certainly be impressed by the exquisite and abundant detail of it's verse, the perpetual freshness of it's phrase and the extraordinarily rich sensory images scattered throughout it's lines. But, without a deeper, more intense reading of his poems as mere parts of a larger whole, the reader may miss specific themes and

John Keat's "Ode to a Nightingale", "ode To Autumn" and "ode on a Grecian Urn"

1469 words - 6 pages hallmarks. Through Keats' eyes, the world is a place full of idealistic beauty, both artistic and natural, who's inherent immortality, is to him a constant reminder of that man is irrevocably subject to decay and death. This theme is one which dominates a large portion of his late poetry and is most readily apparent in three of his most famous Odes: To a Nightingale, To Autumn and on a Grecian Urn. In the Ode to a Nightingale, it is the ideal beauty of

"Ode to a Nightingale" and "To Autumn" by John Keats.

1614 words - 6 pages : imagination and creativity, the beauty of nature, magical creatures or experience, and the true sufferings of human life. "Ode to a Nightingale" and "To Autumn" are two well known odes by Keats. They both reflect some of the concerns in its context."Ode to a Nightingale" explores the sufferings of mortal life and ways of escape including alcohol, imagination and poetry, and death. The nightingale represents transcendence to a better world and its song

A critical appreciation of Keats' "ode to a Nightingale"

1271 words - 5 pages faced by a series of sad experiences in his life. The poem was written a few months after the death of the poet's brother.Ode to a Nightingale is one of the five "spring ode's " composed by Keats. He emphasized on sensuousness, that is, his works appealed to all the five senses of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. An ode is a lyric, which is lofty in style and is usually addressed formally to its subject.Greek and Roman mythology were

Ode to a Nightingale and Two Look at Two

884 words - 4 pages Ode to a Nightingale and Two Look at Two In "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Two Look at Two", both poems tells of an experience in which the human characters encounters animals in the poems, the experiences are handled quite differently in the two poems. In "Ode to a Nightingale", Keats often express his sad feelings and uses the Nightingale and portray it as some sort of a god or peaceful symbol. As the poem started off with Keats

Similar Essays

Comparison: Dover Beach And Do Essay

1272 words - 5 pages ." Funny, she is almost not visible for the entire poem and then suddenly she is. His aloofness to her presence ends the poem in such a way that the reader is left to wonder and inquire about the whole picture the remainder of the story. The poem "The Dover Bitch: A Criticism of Life," written by Anthony Hecht in 1968, undermines and debases the introspection and romanticism of Matthew Arnold's, "Dover Beach," written about a century earlier in

Comparison: Dover Beach And Do Essay

1272 words - 5 pages ." Funny, she is almost not visible for the entire poem and then suddenly she is. His aloofness to her presence ends the poem in such a way that the reader is left to wonder and inquire about the whole picture the remainder of the story. The poem "The Dover Bitch: A Criticism of Life," written by Anthony Hecht in 1968, undermines and debases the introspection and romanticism of Matthew Arnold's, "Dover Beach," written about a century earlier in

A Comparison Of Fahrenheit 451 And Dover Beach

1194 words - 5 pages      Fahrenheit 451 is a well-written book that tells a story of a dream world and one man who wakes up from that dream. Montag, the protagonist of the story, brings home a book of poetry one day and begins to read the poem Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold to his wife and her guests. Many critics think that Bradbury picked this poem because it paralleled life in his book. The poem Dover Beach can be compared to Fahrenheit

A Comparison Of Dover Beach By Matthew Arnold And Prayer Before Brith By Louis Mac Neice

1299 words - 5 pages A Comparison of Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold and Prayer Before Brith by Louis MacNeice 'Dover Beach' by Matthew Arnold, written in 1867, and 'Prayer Before Birth' written in 1951 by Louis MacNeice share many similarities despite being written nearly on hundred years apart from each other. This essay will explore the issues and ideas that both poems share, in addition to drawing attention to some of the key differences