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"grecian urn"
grecian urn
Tamara Moore
Analytical Essay

In the poem "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats, the speaker struggles with the trials and tribulations of life compared to immortality. He then speaks to the Grecian Urn in attempt to engage with the static immobility of the sculpture. He questions the urn, but gets no response from it. The speaker ultimately has to decide the answers to his own questions, leaving the poem with a higher level of understanding about life.

This was a poem from the Romantic Period and that made it easier to take a more "imaginative" standpoint, because during this period the authors focused on feelings, the imagination, and the value of what is supposed to be done to what can be done. It is important to look at the feelings of this particular poem, and it deals with the mysterious works of life in general, and reality versus a so-called "dream world." The author creates this dream world through the speaker's own imagination. The theme of this poem portrays Keats's attempt to connect with the stand still time of sculpture, the Grecian urn. It has been passed down through countless centuries to the time of the speaker's viewing, and this urn exists outside of time in the human sense—it does not age, or die, and it can grasp no such concepts. During the speaker's meditation, this creates an

Smith 2

intriguing paradox for the human figures carved into the side of the urn. They are free from time, but are simultaneously frozen in time. This is illustrated by the lines "Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor ever can the trees be bare" (v. 15 &16). The people on the urn do not have to confront aging and death, but they cannot experience anything because they are frozen. Even...

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