Read the topic analysis from "Ode on a Grecian Urn." "Ode on a Grecian Urn" explores the idea that art is an everlasting and unchangeable reality. Now read the following paragraph from "Ozymandias," another romantic-era poetry. This time, we can see how Shelley's words echo those of Virgil in "The Aeneid":
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: / Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair! / Nothing beneath the sky can be more beautiful or worthy of note than what I have made / They are too wonderful for me now; they cannot be preserved / The strongest steel begins to bend under its own weight when overloaded / But iron, bronze, stone, and marble remain unmoved by time. / Let us hope, then, that there is some immortal part of myself that survives within these monuments I have built.
Shelley was trying to express his belief that greatness is always worthy of emulation and that mortality should not deter us from creating something great. He wanted people to know that history would remember him even though he was already dead.
This short poem is considered one of the most famous poems in the English language.
Truth, Beauty, and Art "Ode on a Grecian Urn" explores the interconnectedness of art, beauty, and truth. According to the speaker, humans comes closest to truth via beauty, and human beings may acquire this beauty through art (though it remains a bittersweet achievement). The urn upon which the ode is written becomes representative of art itself: both are objects of beauty that also contain a bit of death.
The ode was written by John Keats in 1820. He was an English poet known for his use of language and his attention to detail. Keats wrote two versions of the ode, and it was not published until after his death. It is included in his collection of poems, called "Poems".
Keats describes the urn as being of gold and silver fused together. This shows that art can be made out of many different materials including metal, stone, and clay. But even more interesting is the fact that it can also be made out of flesh and blood cells! Modern artists often borrow from various sources for their creations, but rarely has an artist taken inspiration from such a diverse source as humanity.
Keats also mentions the urn's maker. This unknown artist created something so beautiful that he/she has been immortalized in bronze. This shows that beauty can lead to success and fame because people will always want to see more of what this first artist produced.
"Ode on a Grecian Urn" has a mournful tone mixed with amazement and admiration. Keats' contrast of the urn's etched depictions of nature to the earth's genuine sceneries reveals melancholy. The poet also shows astonishment at the power of art.
The poem's mood is generally regarded as one of mourning, although some scholars believe it to be more accurately described as "mournful wonder". It has been suggested that this type of poetry would have had especially strong resonance for Keats in the months following the death of his friend John Hay, who had inspired many of Keats' poems.
Keats began writing "Ode on a Grecian Urn" in February 1820. He first showed it to his friend Joseph Severn, who was visiting from England. Severn advised him to rewrite it and not to send it out again until it was finished. Instead, Keats submitted it to the magazine Leigh Hunt's London Review for October 1820. It was accepted soon after and published alongside other contributions by Shelley, Byron, and Hood. The popularity of the poem led to Keats being invited to contribute further pieces for the next issue, which appeared in January 1821.
In Ode on a Grecian Urn, there is a contrast between life and art. Through the notion of eternity, Keats clings to a philosophical portrayal of the relationship between art and life in the poem. Keats' departure from reality allows him to recognize the true relationship between art and existence beyond time and space. Art is not meant to mirror life but instead to stimulate thoughts about life and its meaning.
Life is "a dream that is gone." The urn upon which Keats gazes is merely a piece of sculpture. It has no real existence apart from its purpose: to contain the remains of someone who has died. Even this role is temporary as the urn will soon be destroyed by fire. Life is therefore meaningless except as it leads to something greater than itself. This "something" is what Keats calls art because he believes that only art can capture the eternal beauty we see in nature and in each other. Art provides humans with a way to express their feelings and ideas beyond simply living their daily lives.
Keats also uses the word "art" in reference to his own writing. He aspires to create works of art that will last forever through poetry. However, like all artists, Keats knows this goal is never going to be achieved completely. Still, he continues to write and paint even though he knows it will never be seen or heard by others.