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Essay example - close reading about "Ode to Nightingale" by Keats

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Pages 3 (753 words)
The speaker opens with a declaration of his own heartache. As someone who has taken alcohol, he feels numb. But upon hearing a nightingale singing atop a tree in the forest, he slips into a dream like…

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The word ‘fade’ is suggesting disappearing or dying is repeated. It first appears at the end of the second stanza, the speaker imagines happily fading away with the bird. At the beginning of the third stanza, he again talks of, “fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget the troubles the nightingale has never known: ‘the weariness, the fever and the fret” of human life, not forgetting the obvious reality that nothing is immortal, “Youth grows pale and spectre-thin, and dies.” Either way, he seems saddened by this very thought that he is immortal and that the bird’s world is different from his. While the bird’s music is immortal, he himself is not. The nightingale is a powerful image of contrast in the whole poem. Traditionally; the nightingale is an image of immortality. In the poem, its timeless song is contrasted with the temporality of the listener of its songs. The second stanza earlier suggested the speaker’s yearning for the oblivion of alcohol “a draught of vintage,” that would be authentic i.e. “taste like the country and like peasant dances,” and let him “leave the world unseen” far into the deeper recesses of the forest with the nightingale.
With the invocation of celestial images, he being ‘with the bird into the night, the moon and the stars’ creates a picture of bliss and life. However, he says there is no light, suggesting death. The fifth Stanza again makes a reference to the senses. He senses the flowers are sweet although he cannot see or feel them in darkness. He captures the nature’s beauteous harmony as conveyed by the serenity of the grass, the wild fruit trees, the hawthorn, the coming musk-rose, and the murmur of the summer flies. These images suggest life in its bloom. However, towards the end; he mentions the “fast fading violets cover’d up in leaves” which suggests death.
In the sixth Stanza, he listens in ...
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