John Keats: Poem Analysis and Plot

Categories: Plot

The poem is an imaginary one, as Keats try to image of a bird that lives in reality of its own within the enchanting forest. Using the poetic term, nightingale poem can be said to have an important connection to mythology . One important thing is to keep in mind that this poem represents the existence of carefree life, where life is free from the time and death burdens and the concerns of the human.

To begin with, the first stanza of the poem Ode to a Nightingale, the first line provides a picture to a reader that the poem isn’t a cheery one.

In the stanza, the speaker is comparing the state his mind to being poisoned, where he goes farther to allude to making reference to Lethe River. Lethe River, according to Greek mythology, is an underworld river, whose water erases the memories of whoever drinks them. From this stanza, we come to understand that the nightingale's song is what makes the speaker to trance, making the speaker not to focus on anything else because of happiness .

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At the end of the first stanza, one can conclude that the speaker is compared to someone who has totally being wasted Going to stanza two, one can see a poetic inspiration from drinking from the spring made by horse hoof. There is the personification of the drink as the speaker says the drink is red in color. One is also able to come across comparison, where bubbles popping from the top of the class is compared to eyes that are winking.

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The speaker is expressing a wish on how he longs for drinking the alcohol. The last two lines of this stanza bring out imagination which is the language that helps in stimulating our sense of touch (description of the coldness of wine), hearing (Provencal song), taste (Flora tasting and country green), and sight (mouth which is purple-stained) . Also, the last two lines of this stances show how the speaker had the urge to leave the physical world.

In the third stanza, the speaker depicts depressing images by describing the earth as a place where ageing people suffers from paralysis shaking their last hairs, while young people become thin like ghosts and eventually die . This stanza personifies beauty and love, where beauty eyes are nice but she gets old, and the eyes lose their lustre. Love is said to be a chubby kid who has bow and arrows and with beautiful eyes. Moreover, death has been personified as a male with the hood and sickle. In this stanza we are shown that the speaker is not afraid of dying; instead, he is wooing the death. The stanza shows the world of suffering and full of sorrows, hence comprehending the meaning of love and beauty.

The fourth stanza uses a metaphor, where speaker flight in describing his imaginative journey to join the nightingale, by flying using his metaphorical wings. In this allusive metaphor of Bacchus who is the Greek god of wine and drunkenness, the speaker claims drunkenness will not be the reason for his escape into the nightingale's world . This stanza is full of fantasy indulgent as explained when the speaker compares the moon and the stars to a queen who is surrounded by her female attendants.

Through the fifth stanza, the speaker compares the plants in the dark forest to red to incense. This shifts the reader's attention back to the physical world. There is the use of metaphor, symbol, and allusion.

In the sixth and seventh stanza, the speaker talks about the nightingale. The sixth stanza shows that the speaker’s death idea becomes very serious than ever, to an extend that he wished he could die with no pain at midnight, and that when he dies, the nightingale song will continue, though he won't be able to hear it . While in stanza seven the speaker talks directly to the nightingale, though it can’t hear him. Lastly, the speaker imagines, in a fantasy world, a bird that is flying out of an open window and then flies over the remote ocean.

Lastly but not least, the last stanza personifies the idea that the speaker has made this poem to be possible: imagination or fancy . He compares fancy to a mischievous elf who liked fooling people. As the speaker flies away, the song nightingale diminished until he cants hear it anymore, making the speaker not to recall if he is awake or asleep .

Updated: Feb 24, 2024
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John Keats: Poem Analysis and Plot. (2024, Feb 24). Retrieved from

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