Ode on a Grecian Urn: By John Keats
In the poem Ode on Grecian Urn by John Keats, the author uses the element of poetry, such as imagery, symbolism, and figure of speech, such as metaphor and simile to advance the theme of beauty. The speaker from the poem is talking to an urn that is engraved by conveying his affection in fantasy of an ideal world of art rather than the present world we live in. From the poem, two features are evident, which include Keat’s ideology of art as well as Keatsian Romanticism expressing the central theme of the poem, which is the beauty.
The imagination of beauty is clearly expressed in the poem intriguingly and fascinatingly. The author of the poem uses imagery in the poem to show love and beauty of the urn. In the second stanza of the poem, the orator of the poem uses a song, which plays in a piper beneath a tree for her lover to identify him with it. He says, “Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes play on; / not to the sensual ear, but more endeared” (ln 12 – 13). Here, the orator has uses imagery to express senses. He further mentions that he hears melodies coming out of the urn, which can be expressed to correlate to the limited aspect of transient love (Adorno 225). In addition to that, the poem expresses the art from the urn to correspond to the infinity and beauty of the universe. Surely, the art exudes a silence that can only be compared to the limitlessness of time and space, when he says, “She cannot fade, though. thou hast not thy bliss,” (ln 19). The speaker of the poem requests the reader to be calm not to grieve because the beauty will last forever.
Furthermore, the beauty expressed from the urn with orator of the poem symbolizes human nature. The jar from the poem is ascribed qualities of human being. He explains the merits of the design of the urn which the author transforms in time and uses it to bring out a beautiful work of art which is alive. The jar that is expressed in the poem with the author is a unique piece of work with beautiful decorative pictures engraved on it. When he says, “Forever panting, and forever young” (ln 26), the speaker of the poem ascribe human qualities to the urn. The speaker can reveal human attributes while fantasizing about lovers (Adorno 225). The piece of work is also referred to as being immortal, which is also a symbol, used to express beauty as the theme of the poem.
Besides, the poem has used figure of speech in form of a metaphor to express real and physical comprehension of an object, which is then transformed into abstract models of time and truth. Most significantly, in the first stanza, he says, ” unravish’d bride of quietness,” (ln 1) is a suitable example of metaphor used to describe the beauty of the urn, especially- bride as already seen from the seen first line of the poem.
In conclusion, the author of the poem has use imagination, symbolism, and metaphor to express the theme of beauty in the poem Ode on Grecian Urn. Beauty has been revealed in a manner that is captivating with the three elements described in the poem above.
Adorno, Theodor W., et al. “Abrams, Meyer H., The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1953).———Natural Supernaturalism; Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature (Norton: New York, 1971).” Subjectivity and the Political: Contemporary Perspectives (2017): 225.