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Ode on a Grecian Urn

Project presentation on John Keat's, "Ode on a Grecian Urn".
by

alyssa wilson

on 17 May 2011

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Transcript of Ode on a Grecian Urn

Ode on a Grecian Urn by Alyssa Wilson Poetry Terms: Onomatopoeia - The use of words which imitate sound. Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Personification - A figure of speech which endows inanimate objects with human traits or abilities THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express Simile - A comparison between two objects using a specific word or comparison such as "like", "as", or "than". Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st Paraphrasing Within the first couples of lines each are ideas about “quietness”. This is because the urn is telling a story through a picture rather than spoken words. The line, “Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time” represents the artist of the urn, who has long since passed but his work which lives forever on. People can only imagine the sounds and faces of the story without truly hearing them. In the next lines Keats continues to talk about the music, or “melodies”; both heard and unheard. In his line, “Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave” he is talking about the woman in the urn who is forever frozen in place. A man and a woman trapped in an embrace which cannot be fulfilled. Keats enjoys the enjoyment the couple in the urn must be feeling. He looks on romantically at the happy, happy love the couple must currently in that moment must be feeling. These lines were easy to break down, probably because nearly every line seems to have the word “happy” in it; such as, “More happy love! More happy, happy love! For ever warm and still to be enjoyed”. These lines were easily the hardest to decipher. They were choppy and hard to comprehend. Basically with his line of, “If emptied of its folk, this pies morn?” shows that the town has now deserted itself or has died out. The urn is still in place, but who is there to see it and enjoy it’s beauty? John Keats continues to go on and ask who will appreciate the urn’s beauty when every generation wastes away? We are teased with eternity, but never given it. Everybody continues to die but, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, --That is all ye know on Earth, and all ye need to Know”. Theme! a. What is the theme of the poem? b. What vivid/descriptive words are used in the poem to illustrate theme? c. List the words that you believe are the most powerful in the poem. d. What is the most powerful word or phrase, and why do you think so? All things must eventually pass, even beauty. “A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme” (Keats, Line 4)

“Of deities or mortals, or of both” (Keats, Line 6)

“Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor even can those trees be bare; Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss” (Keats, Lines 15-17)

“For ever panting, and for ever young; All breathing human passion far above” (Keats, Lines 27-28) Sweet/Sweeter, Fair Youth, Bold Loverm, Wilt, Adieu, Unwearied, Burning, Parching, Silken, Citadel, Art, Desolate, Cold Pastoral, Eternity, Beauty, Truth. “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” –that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

I believe the very last lines are important because not only do the speakers seem to switch from man to urn and urn to man, but I think it’s the one line that manages to sum up the theme for the entire poem. Beauty is only eternal in art, as is love. It’s also one of the most powerful lines because to me it’s a lie, which is why I wrote a more cynical take on the poem below. Biography and Historical Information Birth: October 31, 1795 Death: February 23, 1821 Was sent to apprentice with an apothecary-surgeon and study medicine in a London hospital. In 1816 Keats became a licensed apothecary, but he never practiced his profession. His first volume of poems was published in 1817. Was said his health started declining due to poor reviews. Spent the summer of 1818 on a walking tour in Northern England and Scotland, but had to return home to help his little brother who had tuberculosis. While caring for him, he fell in love with a women named Franny Brawne who inspired much of his work. Not some time later, he also fell deathly ill with tuberculosis. Under his doctor's orders to seek a warm climate for the winter, Keats went to Rome with his friend, the painter Joseph Severn. He died there and was buried Protestant cemetery. Is there a connection? From what I read about the author it doesn’t seem like this particular poem was inspired by a personal event. It seemed more like he was interested in the historical times of the Greeks, and of the Gods. While most urns usually told the stories of war, Keats took on a more romantic notion and told the story of an urn with a couple. Historical Context It's from the Romantic Period. The only thing the poem and the period has in common is early death. People during the eighteen hundreds didn’t live very long due to early death from many diseases. As said in the poem generations go by very quickly, this related to his life because of all the death. Even Keats only lived for twenty-six years. S
O
A
P
S
-
T
o
n
e The “Speaker” is the author John Keats. Keats speaks in past tense, his story is not his to tell but that of the urns. His reference of “When old age shall this generation waste” he speaks of his people and the people to come, those who do not appreciate beauty and the eternal. Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.' The “Occasion” is Keats showing his love for beauty, and nogalistic of what the artist of the urn feels. He is romantic and contemplative of the couple in the urn, and of their frozen beauty. The “Audience” are the readers of the poem. For the majority of the poem it is almost as if he is speaking to himself and himself alone, but the very last line, 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'
shows that Keats is speaking to everyone.
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! The “Purpose” of the poem is to show us that there are things the live forever. While humans and generations change and die, the beauty of art is forever and immortal. The perfect example are lines 44-47. Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe The “Subject” or main focus of the poem is the couple on the urn. While the couple in itself is only briefly mentioned, they are the subject of the entire story. It is the couple and what the couple represents that inspires Keats. The “Tone” is probably going to be different for everyone. For me, I feel like the tone is both romantic and contemplative. It changes bit by bit throughout the story. It starts off with burning questions and changes by the end to wild, almost fruitless answers. Poetry Proposal At first I didn’t really understand why I choose this poem. It was difficult to understand and almost appeared messy to me. Yet, out of all of the poems that I read, this one stuck with me and made me think. I took a chance and choose it, even knowing how hard I found it to read. After researching it a bit more I realized why I choose this poem. A large concept of the poem has to do with art, something I very much relate to. I liked that the author saw a story in the art of the Urn, because to me every little piece of art has a story behind it. Works Cited Keats, John. Ode on a Grecian Urn. Write-Like: Oh, of time traveled sin,
Of man and the eternal, Thou beauties lust
Long since forgotten, The burnings of parched skin
Listen for the sounds, Which thee not trust
Ash and Blood, Wind and Death
What heard are soft, But deaf to us Thy roaming hands, Stilled in a Breath
That which we cannot shed,
And that we cannot see,
What thought to be immortal, Forever young and sweet
Grows thou bitter and cold on thy tongue
What is Time? Such little of it and so much more Why thy cold, when forever frozen in heat?
The fires of man, the powers of gods in thy hands
What are we to sacrifice?
Sins of the past, thou cracks in shallow clay
Flesh and Ice falls from thy bone
To whom must we watch? Their longevity, a growing sadness Thou fall from grace, from man to ash
Broken wings, a plea for mercy
Beauty is not truth, nor truth beauty'
That which we are left with, neither or all
But the passage of time, the mortality of man Class Activity! Draw a picture of how you would picture the Grecian Urn. Write two sentences why you envisioned it that way.
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