“Beauty is truth, truth beauty” Essay

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Of the five odes written by John Keats, this ode was written to show the beauty of love through a work of art. This work of art is a Grecian Urn, one side adorned with a woman being pursued by a “bold lover” and on the other a priest leading a heifer to be sacrificed. The beauty of this poem is given in five stanzas of iambic pentameter with a two part rhyme scheme, giving the poem a sense of a two part structure and, furthermore, two meanings just as there are two sides of the urn. The manifest meaning is one of the picture being timeless and the love eternal, while the latent meaning is that of silence and how love can be expressed without word or sound. Keats begins this depiction of beauty in the first stanza by describing the woman,…show more content…
However, we are told not to grieve, for just as the lover will never reach his beloved, his beloved will never fade and “for ever wilt thou love”. In the third stanza, Keats repeats the word happy six times and “for ever” five times. The purpose of this is to exaggerate his message of timeless beauty. The urn will forever show the same scene of the trees in full bloom, never to “bid the Spring adieu”. “More happy love! More happy, happy love!”; describing the love of the young couple, Keats says that they will be “for ever warm”, “for ever panting”, and “for ever young”. In this, the speaker rejoices in the still moment, the love that will for ever remain frozen. The repetition of happy and exclamation points also seem to show Keats’ overly sentimental feeling for the trees’ condition, almost as if he is envious of their everlasting beauty (Trumann). Until this point the reader has seen a single side of the urn. The fourth stanza of “Ode on a Grecian Urn” begins to show us other side of the urn, as if the speaker is holding the urn in his hand and turning it over to view the rest of the design. Full of questions, this stanza gives the feeling of confusion. The speaker is contemplating the purpose of the priest, the “garlands drest” heifer, and wondering about their destination. Another part of this scene depicts a town “emptied of its folk,” leaving the speaker to wonder what
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