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| John Keats: Ode on a Grecian Urn Essay

Ode on a Grecian Urn is one of the most memorable and important poems in the romantic period of John Keats. The poem is notable which is important for its persuasive conclusion as well as profound meditation process about the general natural beauty. It is the speechlessness of the nature of beauty. The poet says, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty” (Keats 33). In the poem, Keats goes to convey his philosophy of life, art, and beauty to the reader for another new interpretation. The final lines of the poem in terms of both language and form also try to become a maxim that has the ability to move beyond the poem and go to a wider social as well as artistic life.

Keats’ Philosophy of Life, Art, and Beauty in the Poem

A number of arguments can be raised in the mind of the reader during a close reading of the poem. There can be many questions that might be raised like the reason for loving or why we should try to create and define beauty when beauty is eternal. The poet feels, “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard/ Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on” (Keats 32). Thus, as per Keats, beauty is central to all the most cherished beliefs and pursuits of human, and, in this aspect, we feel that Keats’ lines are forceful. Imperfection, on the other part, goes to liberate a person to make as well as remake basic art. One of the very common themes of the romantic period was the death of one form and the rebirth of that after the death of the general part. The “gift of tragic acceptance” (Bloom and Trilling 495) is really fascinating in the course of the poem.

The defining characteristic of tragic sense of life insists on the balance that strives for rationality, on the one hand, and also tries to recognize the basic and underlying irrationality of general existence of the other form, on the other hand. If we look at the general structure of tragedy in literature, we will see that the writers place a strong importance to find different answers and ultimately understand all the experiences in full like the most fundamental questions regarding the existence of any thing. And what is more striking is that these questions deal with personal terms in the course of tragedy. The poet keeps asking “In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?/ What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?/ What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?/ What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?” (Keats 32). The tragic figure always tries to stretch the limit of his or her imagination and ultimately reaches the frightening extent that becomes dangerous to the general existence of the character.

The General Psychoanalytic Theories in the Poem

The general psychoanalytic theories try to maintain the basic concept of a number of repressed terrors that lurk inside the mind of the central character of any drama or novel, here, in this case, the speaker. Here, the Grecian Urn is ancient, but we must not say that it is the symbol of any type of ancient terror as it is sometimes mentioned in the popular psychoanalytic theories. Generally, the terror is based on a realistic fear of the current situation of the character through which the reader is experiencing the situation. In most of the cases, it goes to create a profound and irrational anxiety because, in most cases, it had some kind of personal connection. And the personal connection or family history is absent in the poem. Keats is watching the view and mentally connecting himself with it.

In the common psychoanalytical view, man is ensnared in the net of the past like the great Greek King Agamemnon. It goes to say that every individual is both shaped and conditioned with their experience of the past as per the general origin and lifestyle of the person. Here, we can mention the ideas of Freud, who really admired the Greek tragedies. He always believed that the accumulated power of the generations can surely affect the current experience of an individual. The decisions taken by a person do take place with the general context of events that might have taken place for a long time even through a number of generations.

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Understanding the aspect of knowledge “that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” (Keats 33) is really important in the process of psychoanalysis. A person has to be absolutely answerable to himself or herself, more than any other person. , in the poem, the Grecian Urn has passed countless centuries, and it seems to exist outside any human sense. Simply, it is alien to the concepts of aging or death, and this is the most intriguing paradox to the speaker. It is free from time, or to put it more correctly, it is frozen into time.

There is another similarity between psychoanalysis and tragedy. Both say that one should confront life openly. It is basically a changing nature of living, like what Hamlet experienced in his course of life. But the most important thing in a human life is to live, live to the fullest of his or her abilities. In this process, there are some kinds of losses of integral dimension of the general human experience. One has to understand that point so that the person can ultimately reassure his way of living. It is important to accept the losses, and one should not really dwell on the past; it only hampers the present. Here, Keats shows a certain amount of progress when he tries to engage the urn when initially his idle curiosity goes to make way to a more deeply felt identification in the second attempt, and, in the third, he ultimately leaves his general thoughts and focuses entirely on the processional study of time. Probably, this is the best psychoanalysis in the romantic period which goes to give many dimensions to the poem itself.

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