Ode on a Grecian Urn-John Keates.

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  • Published : July 6, 2008
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The Ode on a Grecian Urn-John Keates

The Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keates is an attention-grabbing and thought provoking poem about an urn in the British Museum which incites an imaginary journey when looked at by people of all ages. The persona discovers messages of morality and the truth behind true beauty. The urn will always be of service to humanity and will continue to teach its message to all generations. There in lies the beauty of the urn. The urn is a sacred object that becomes an inspiration which leads the persona to an understanding about life.

The persona is taken on an imaginary journey through four different phases. The persona takes himself and us as the reader to other places during these phases. Phase one the persona appears to be inquisitive and eager towards the urn asking superficial and rhetorical questions about the urn’s religion, nature, spirit and beauty. He is walking around the urn in the museum and observing. He tries to work out the meaning of the urn by asking these superficial questions. “What men or God’s are these? What maidens loth?” By asking these questions it shows the persona is unsure and curious to what the urn represents.

Phase two is when the persona is tantalised when he comes to the realisation from the superficial questions that the images on the urn can never age and will remain young forever although the images cannot experience life either. “Nor ever can those trees be bare, bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss.” The images will never get to experience winter as they have been painted during spring time nor can the young lovers ever kiss as they are painted so close together but never will they reach one another. The persona’s thought patterns change during this phase as he thinks of the negative side. Although the will remain beautiful forever they will never get the experiences of life.

Phase three is when the persona is in complete imagination. The persona enters a deeper...
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