19 February 2013
Ode to a Nightingale
In “Ode to a Nightingale,” the most evident characteristic of Romanticism is the feeling and emotion. This is portrayed since the beginning: “My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains / My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, / Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains” (lines 1-3). The speaker feels as though he has been poisoned or drugged since he can not see the nightingale. The birds’ song has this paralyzing effect on him to where he feels as though his heart aches. It is as if he feels the nightingales’ passion. When he does realize where the song is coming from, he now wants to be drunk and longs to escape reality with the bird in the “world unseen” (14). “O, for a draught of vintage!” (11). Then in lines 55-60, his emotions are so overpowering that he now lets his imagination fully take over. He wants to be like the nightingale and feel no pain, but if he were to die, his ears would be of no use because he would not be able to hear the song of the bird. Another key characteristic is the obvious love of nature. The speaker is trying to unite with nature. In lines 41-50, he is describing what is all around him yet he has lost his sense of sight and is using all the others. “I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, / Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, / But in emabalmed darkness, guess each sweet.” He seems to be one with nature. The use of such imagination has taken him into the world of the nightingale; it has taken over him.
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