Thursday, May 16, 2019
Keats Yearned to Transcend the Human Condition Essay
Keats yearned to travel by the tender condition but could only find a pro tempore respite from mortality.Discuss.Keats, through his poetry, has in effect risen above the mortality which was so prominent in his psyche both temporarily and permanently. Much of Keatss poetry faecal matter be seen as an attempt to explore Keats acute sentiency and musings on the transience of human life. Coloured by his experiences of life and deceaseing, and ironicall(a)y captured in his own ailment and early demise, there is evidence in his poetry which displays moments of visionary understanding of threatening mortality albeit interspersed inwardly the ambiguous poetry of a man struggling to flummox to terms with ane of lifes most complex mysteries.Keats life experience was of upmost importance in forming this aw beness. Contacts with death such as the death of his brother Tom at a young age, as with other members of his family, had a underlying impact on the poet. To Autumn displays this heightened sense of time and its passing. The vivid description of the transition between the seasons gives the contributor an most snapshot like vision of a moment at the end of autumn with all fruit with ripeness to the core (I. 6) However we are subtly reminded that this atmosphere of fruitfulness and warm age whitethorn soon be destroyed by the winnowing wind of the imminent winter. By the final stanza of the poem, we are given the harrowing reminder of the ready to be slaughtered full grown lambs (III. 30) and the gathering swallows which signify that the tender season is pending.At these times it appeared he found a temporary respite through exploring his hagridden temperament through his poetry. Ward describes poems he wrote in the dark months where he contemplated the subject of death as the only release poetry itself was a kind of communication with the theology dead, or of the dead with one a nonher, and the and the poet a birdlike figure who escapes who escapes th e bonds of the e fine cunningh to join them. (Ward 40) Poetry in a sense provided a system of relief and catharsis for a man surrounded by and near to death.However, Keats yearned to achieve a ofttimes more extensive release from the human condition than that gained through the make-up of poetry. A letter to George Keats later on Toms death displayed how this experience congealed tush Keats belief in immortality The3 last days of poor Tom were of the most distressing reputation yet the common observations of the commonest people on death are as true as their proverbs. I have scare doubt of immortality of or so nature or other- neither had Tom (Walsh 57).A letter to Fanny exposes Keats longing to extend his being beyond that of a mortal life how short is the longest Life- I wish to believe in immortality. I wish to live with you forever. (Ward 359) Keats own, soon to be fatal illness surely emphasised the transitory nature of life. The final line of Keats Last Sonnet provides additional evidence of this fixation with the capacity for immortality Still to understand her tender- taken breath,/ And so live forever or else swoon to death (13 4).This refusal to accept death and the end of his life is replicated with a powerful allusion to Greek myth at the beginning of Ode to Melancholy No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist/ Wolfs- bane, tight- rooted, for its poisonous wine (1- 2). Keats, immensely aware of his mortality sought to pimp an escape, a means of escaping this doom. Where he was to subsequently find this was through the art of poetry.Ode to a Nightingale explores the human relationship between arts and immortality. The nightingales song is used as a gate sort into the immortal world a world completely removed from the fleeting mortal one. With the song of the nightingale having been perceive and admired by the human race for thousands of years, there is a sense of immortality in its melody which Keats envies potassium wast not born for dea th, immortal Bird,/ No hungry generations tread thee down (VII. 70- 1). Keats heartfelt anguish towards the nightingale is based on the belief that while the individual bird is mortal the species artform, that is song, lives on.Likewise Ode on a Grecian Urn, based on an intense meditation on art by Keats, further explores Keats sideline in mortality, and the capacity which some forms of art have to escape it. The theme of what is gone before is the concord of beauty, the fixity given by art to forms in life which are fluid and impertinent, and the appeal of art from the senses to the spirit (Garrod in Fraser 68). The artefact which has survived and is being admired for 2,200 years in a sense has a mastery over time which Keats as a mortal does not Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought/ As does eternity. This admiration for art and the artist is furthered at points in his poetry, including in his inferring to one-time(a) Meg as an, albeit at a more unassuming level, arti stic person who with her fingers old and brown..Plaited mats orushes. However, the assumption of Keats holding a steadfast and absolute belief in the capacity for a human to, by some means, achieve a form of immortality may be questioned. Ambiguities and paradoxes in many poems may provide suggest that while there is an obvious interest in the power to retain some form of mortality this belief is not as unconditional as this. He constantly wrestles with the idea. oneness critic states that He has found no haven in the world. He is not the fanatic who lives indoors the mortal security of his safety, which is the security of dogma. Nor is he the dreaming savage who is insecure in his mortality and can thus only guess at heaven (Pollard 118).This more balanced interpretation of Keats opinions can be seen especially in the latter parts of poems which may have begun with a positive emphasis on immortality succeeding over the power of time. In the final stanzas of Ode to a Nightingale the whole poem is revealed as effectively a deceit. The nightingale is after all mortal a deceiving elf. Perhaps Keats desire to come in contact with a more sensuous and perpetual world is in fact materialising in a fantasy Was it a vision, or a waking dream?/ Fled is that music Do I wake or sleep? (VIII 79- 80).Similarly while Ode on a Grecian Urn at first admires the ability of art to have a sense of permanence, this viewpoint transforms in the latter stages. The figures on the urn are, besides beautiful, only an artists attempt to capture the human nature and events portrayed. The paradoxical nature of the poem means that the probing questions asked ultimately have no satisfactory answers. In probing melancholically for synthesis, Keats is conscious of how the concept of eternity is, and always will be, a mystery to us.Ode on Melancholy is another(prenominal) such poem which may substantiate claims that Keats acceptance that art and beauty may not be an essence which has com plete immortal qualities. Mayhead (96) argues that this is the case The Melancholy Ode accepts the impermanence of beauty and joy as necessary. Keats understands that in a sense beauty must die (III. 21) not all works of art will be able to withstand the test of time.However for Keats art is, if not an actual way to achieve a level of immortality, then the best option he believes he can attempt. This disbeliever awareness of the temporary state of human life at this point was heightened by his illness and imminent death. One of his final poems, Sonnet, perhaps most obviously displays this yearning to transcend the human condition, and an almost prophetic mention of how the poet will find this exemption from mortality When I have fears that I may cease to beBefore my pen has gleand my teeming brain,Before high piled books (1. 1- 3).Keats longs that his writings and creativity will, as a form of art, carry his existence to higher, almost platonic level. Whilst providing temporary res pite the impermanence of the human conditions at points through his art, Keats through his works, has managed to further extend his influence off the beaten track(predicate) beyond his life on earth through his writings.Works CitedFraser, G. S. Part 3 Recent Studies. keister Keats Odes. London MacMillan, 1971. Mayhead, Robin. 1 The Odes II. John Keats. London Cambridge University Press, 1967. 95- 101 Pollard, David. The Poetry of Keats Language and Experience. Sussex The Harvester Press, 1984. The Complete Poems of John Keats. London Wordsworth Editions Limited, 1994. Ward, Aileen. John Keats The Making of a Poet . New York Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986. Walsh, William. 3 The Development of Self. Introduction to Keats. London Methuen and Co., 1981.