Keats is one of the great Romantic poets of the early 19th century.
In the first stanza, Keats' mood is low and depressed but the nightingale's song creates a state of euphoria in him that allows him to escape reality.
Elliot and ‘To Autumn’ by John Keats....
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....
According to Keats, “A poet is the most unpoetical of anything in existence; he has no identity…creatures of impulse are poetical and have about them an unchangeable attribute-the poet has none; …he is certainly the most unpoetical of all God’s Creatures” (Keats 1818).
s "Ode to the West Wind" and John Keats
In Keats' "Ode to Autumn" he is using a large amount of sensual language to try and take us to the place in his mind, his choice of words are hugely important for making Autumn a sensual Ode....
But Keats is not only the poet of nature.
Keats uses incredibly sensual language to illustrate how he is feeling and what he is imagining which gives the ode's a sensual feeling of being alive.
Keats uses a Grecian urn as a symbol of life.
A major concern in "Ode to a Nightingale" is Keats's perception of the conflicted nature of human life, i.e., the interconnection or mixture of pain/joy, intensity of feeling/numbness of feeling, life/death, mortal/immortal, the actual/the ideal, and separation/connection.
In this ode, Keats focuses on immediate, concrete sensations and emotions, from which the reader can draw a conclusion or abstraction. Does the experience which Keats describes change the dreamer? As reader, you must follow the dreamer's development or his lack of development from his initial response to the nightingale to his final statement about the experience.
The poet falls into a reverie while listening to an actual nightingale sing. He feels joy and pain, an ambivalent response. As you read, pick out which words express his pleasure and which ones express his pain and which words express his intense feeling and which his numbed feeling. Consider whether pleasure can be so intense that, paradoxically, it either numbs us or causes pain.
What qualities does the poet ascribe to the nightingale? In the beginning the bird is presented as a real bird, but as the poem progresses, the bird becomes a symbol. What do you think the bird comes to symbolize? Possible meanings include
John Keats created marvelous works.
These themes and techniques are the back bone of the Ode's which allow the reader to feel and use their imagination which was the main reason Keats wrote his poems.
Keats captured what occurred around him.
Think of the quality or qualities attributed to the nightingale in deciding on the bird's symbolic meaning.
Wanting to escape from the pain of a joy-pain reality, the poet begins to move into a world of imagination or fantasy. He calls for wine. His purpose is clearly not to get drunk. Rather he associates wine with some quality or state he is seeking. Think about the effects alcohol has; which one or ones is the poet seeking? Since his goal is to join the bird, what quality or qualities of the bird does he want to experience? How might alcohol enable him to achieve that desire?
The description of drinking and of the world associated with wine is idealized. What is the effect of the images associating the wine with summer, country pleasure, and romantic Provence? The word "vintage" refers to a fine or prime wine; why does he use this word? (Would the effect differ if the poet-dreamer imagined drinking a rotgut wine?) Why does Keats describe the country as "green"? Would the effect be different if the countryside were brown or yellowed? The activities in line 4 follow one another naturally: dance is associated with song; together they produce pleasure ("mirth"), which is sunburnt because the country dances are held outdoors. "Sunburnt mirth" is an excellent example of synaesthesia in Keats' imagery, since Flora, the green countryside, etc. are being experienced by Keats through drinking wine in his imagination.
The image of the "beaded bubbles winking at the brim" is much admired. Does it capture the action of sparkling wine? What sounds are repeated? What is the effect of this alliteration? Do any of the sounds duplicate the bubbles breaking? Say the words and notice the action of your lips.
This image of the bubbles is concrete; in contrast, the preceding imagery in the stanza is abstract. Can you see the difference?
Does the wine resemble the nightingale in being associated with summer, song, and happpiness?
His awareness of the real world pulls him back from the imagined world of drink-joy. Does he still perceive the real world as a world of joy-pain? Does thinking of the human condition intensify, diminish, or have no effect on the poet's desire to escape the world?
The poet uses the word "fade" in the last line of stanza II and in the first line of this stanza to tie the stanzas together and to move easily into his next thought. What is the effect of the words "fade" and "dissolve"? why "far away"?
What is the relationship of the bird to the world the poet describes? See line 2. Characterize the real world which the poet describes. By implication, what kind of world does the nightingale live in? (is it the same as or different from the poet's?)
Lead is a heavy metal; why is despair "leaden-eyed" (line 8)?