The Abstarct And The Tangible Essay Research — страница 2

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parching tongue”(Lines 26-30). The lover thinks that his love is ‘far above’ all transient human passion, which, in its sexual expression, inevitably leads to an abatement of intensity and all that remains is physical exhaustion. The fourth stanza emphasizes Keats use of imagery when he says “Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies” (Line 33). The use of the verb ‘lowing’ is an example of Keats adroit use of imagery. The idea of the urn’s immunity from the negative aspects of time continues in this stanza, and consists mostly of inquiries Keats makes of the urn. “What little town by river or seashore, / Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, / Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn? / And, little town, thy streets forevermore”(Lines 35 – 38).

Keats goes into an elaborate description of the tableau, relating it to an entire world that lies somewhere beyond the urn, thus creating a relationship between an abstract universe of unseen streets and towns and the physical world. Also the author’s skillful use of imagery evokes feelings of loneliness, irrevocability and eternity, “thy streets for evermore / Will silent be; and not a soul to tell / Why thou art desolate, can e’er return”(Lines 39 – 40). In the final stanza, the speaker reaches the conclusions from his three attempts to engage with the urn. He is overwhelmed by its existence outside of temporal change, with its ability to ‘tease’ him “out of thought / As doth eternity” (Lines 44 – 45) The urn is a separate and self-contained world. This kind

of aesthetic connection that the speaker experiences with the urn is another example of the concept of relating the abstract to the tangible. The final two lines in which the poet imagines the urn speaking its message to mankind – ” Beauty is truth, truth beauty” (Line 49) – has many interpretations to it. After the urn utters the enigmatic phrase no one can say for sure who ’speaks’ the conclusion, “that is all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”(Line 50). It could either be the poet addressing the urn, or the urn addressing mankind. If it is Keats addressing the urn, then it would seem to indicate his awareness of its limitations; the urn may not need to know anything beyond the equation of beauty and truth, but the complications of human life make it

impossible for such a simple and self-contained phrase to express this knowledge sufficiently. If it is the urn addressing mankind, then the phrase has rather the weight of an important lesson, that all mankind on earth should know that beauty and truth are one and the same. ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ portrays Keats attempt to engage with the static immobility of sculpture. Throughout the poem the reader is probed with a series of questions. Keats issues a series of questions, which he ‘expects’ the urn to answer. He then allows the urn to speak without speaking, to “express / A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme” (Lines 3 – 4). He seems to be questioning the urn, and then imposing his own answers. The urn, containing superficially wholesome scenes, is,

nevertheless ambiguous in its meaning, hence Keats’s insistent questioning throughout the first and fourth stanzas. These unanswerable questions are then left open. Keats, knowing that he cannot know, poses his own interpretation for what stories the urn reveals. Then, almost immediately Keats becomes as ambiguous as the urn, finally haunting readers by questioning the nature of Truth as represented by the urn and by this poem. Another arguable subject is the possibility of the urn being ‘actual and tangible’ which might have inspired Keats to write this ode. Or the urn could be purely fictional, that the creator of this imaginary urn was Keats himself, and the artwork and stories he weaves throughout the poem is a figment of his own imagination and doesn’t really exist.

By creating the urn, maybe Keats was representing a lifestyle that he always wanted to be a part of – a social circle whose adage was “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”, and were in turn the words they lived by. ‘Ode to a Grecian Urn’ can be read as the words of a speaker soothing his own fears of death and obscurity, and knowing that what he says is not the gospel truth, but merely something that appeases his logic and reason. The speaker may desire this to be the Truth or become the Truth, but he cannot fully accept his own godly proclamations while looking for fulfillment here on earth that will make the need for thinking evaporate. 342