John Keats Ode On Melancholy Essay Scholarships

Keats Ode To Melancholy Essay

Keats's conception of "Melancholy" is that we as humans cannot truly feel joy, unless we have felt true sorrow first. We find this ideal in several of his works; the two I plan to focus on are "Ode to Melancholy" and "La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad". In his "Ode to Melancholy", Keats clearly illustrates this idea as one reads through the stanzas.

The first stanza he tells the readers not to deaden their senses with drugs, or to forget their sorrows by going to Lethe. Keats states this to say that we need the sorrow we feel to find true happiness, to be "“ as Dr. Gurney stated "“ strong enough to reach for the light of joy, yet live in the shadows of sorrow.

In the next two stanzas, Keats works to show the intertwining of joy and sorrow. He does this by using images such as weeping clouds, droop-headed flowers, a morning rose, rainbows, and peonies. By combining these elements in the way that Keats does, one gets the idea of the pleasure and pain principle once more; that they go hand in hand, and without feeling one, you cannot truly feel the other.

The final stanza concludes Keats's point. It clearly demonstrates that mortal joy causes pain, because we know it will end; therefore, we constantly chase it. Joy continually eludes us, because "“ impart "“ we let it. We are never truly satisfied with anything, not completely; furthermore, we end up finding more sorrow with joy due to the fact that the illustrious feeling we so eagerly anticipated has deteriorated and we are once again faced with the longing to fulfill a desire that seems to be ultimate joy. So in the end, we live our lives to seek joy, knowing...

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When literary types talk about the poets of the British Romantic movement, they usually start with the Big Six. William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and William Blake were the oldest of the six and got the literary movement going, while Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats, the younger generation of Romantic poets, picked up where the old guys left off.

All six of them were interested in tossing out poetic conventions and traditions and rebelling against the kinds of fancy pants poetry that had become popular in the 18th century. These Romantics thought that poetry shouldn't be so structured and formal; it should be about emotion and what it means to be human and all that ooey gooey stuff. John Keats was especially good at this—even though he often wrote in traditional forms (like the ode and sonnet), he wrote his poems about deeply felt passions and emotions, not about historical events or the wealthy upper crust of society.

John Keats was the youngest of the six, but he was the first to die: he died of tuberculosis in 1821 when he was only 25. The poor guy contracted the disease from taking care of his beloved brother, Tom, who died a few years earlier. When he found out that he'd gotten tuberculosis, too, he was heartbroken. He felt like he hadn't had a fair shot at life or at poetry.

See, he had just made a huge breakthrough in his writing, and he wasn't going to have a chance to see what he was capable of. Bummer, right? So he fell into a deep depression and said that he wanted his gravestone to read, "Here lies one whose name was writ in water," because he thought that he, and his poetry, would be forgotten (yeah, the guy was a bit emo). Well, he didn't live to know it, but he is now remembered as one of the most important poets in British history. How's that for a story?

Given what we know about Keats's personal and emotional life, it seems appropriate that he wrote one of his most famous poems, "Ode on Melancholy," about, well, melancholy—that deliciously bittersweet emotion that can be described as sadness that you can really wallow in. So read on, if you want to know what a guy like Keats—someone who had real cause for sorrow—had to say about melancholy.

Ever had a day (or a week, or a month) when you just couldn't shake a bad mood? When you just listen to the same sad songs over and over and over again while watching the rain outside? Shmooper, that's a bad case of the melancholy—and Keats is humming your tune.

In his "Ode on Melancholy," Keats advises us on how best to deal with melancholy. Don't just look out at the rain or other obvious symbols of depression (like the "death-moth," for instance). Why not really pay attention to your melancholy and experience the true range and breadth of human emotions by thinking about joyful and beautiful things, and how they won't last forever? In other words: think big.

No, Keats isn't telling us how to get over ourselves or our bad mood. He's telling us how to make the most of the experience of it, since, after all, melancholy is part of being human, and you can't experience true joy without also experiencing pain and sorrow. So go ahead, Shmooper, wallow away. Just make sure you cheer yourself up afterwards. May we suggest a cronut? Those always do the trick for us.

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