Ode to a nightingale

Discussion on the works of John Keats.

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Ode to a nightingale

Postby Guest » Sat Feb 22, 2003 6:42 pm

I am writing a paper on the anti-utopian view of nature in Ode to a Nightingale. Simply put, I'm arguing that Keats views nature in the same respect as alcohal or a drug...it distorts reality...etc...etc... I am open to any ideas which will enhance this understanding
Guest
 

Ode to a Nightingale

Postby Guest# » Mon Feb 24, 2003 6:53 pm

I'm writing a paper on Keats' Ode to a Nightingale as well. I don't have a specific topic on it, I mainly am just trying to understand the poem in it's entirety. Therefore I can not help you with your topic but if you wouldn't mind aiding me in any way it would be much appreciated. I like your statement of him viewing nature with the same respect as a drug or alcohol. The poem is very complex long and has deep words. I find it a challange to try and decipher. But anyways it's a good solid poem and good luck with your paper.
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Ode to a Nightingale

Postby Andy » Wed Mar 26, 2003 7:53 pm

I'm an admirer of Keats' poetry, and I'm killing time on my daily underground journey to work by memorising poems such as the one you are analysing.
Being someone who hasn't studied literature formally for quite a few years, I would need reminding what a Utopian view (of nature) is (if it's anything too different from what my understanding of Utopia is .... the ideal society/place to live - was it a movement, 'Utopianism'?).
What does interest me is your interest in Keats' comparison of the ecstatic reverie produced by the nightingale's song, compared to the euphoric reflection that drugs can produce. Having sampled both in my time (though these days I stick to the occasional beer or wine) it interests me what Keats is really getting at here.
The effect produced by an opiate would be very different from that induced by hemlock, for example (Socrates died from taking hemlock, I don't intend to try this), and different again by drinking a 'draught of cool vintage' (is he really referring to wine here? One supposes so).
So is Keats making a sweeping comparison of all kinds of substances that allow us to at least reflect profoundly on death, or actually die, "leave the world unseen", find the only true freedom from a place "where to think is to be full of sorrow"? Is he speaking from the naivety of youth, one who imagines but has never tried?
Certainly, his joining the nightningale refers to an act of the imagination, flying "on the viewless wings of poesy".
I guess there's more to it all, but perhaps such a question as the one above cannot be answered? Maybe he hadn't thought it through so much as to be ready with an answer?
Of course, self-annhilation by substances by poets and writers is a common theme (Dylan Thomas, Brendan Behan to name a couple), opening the 'doors of perception', or escaping, or a death-wish....
What I'd really like to know is what do "Lethe-wards" refer to, as in " Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains one minute past, And Lethe-wards had sunk.." Any ideas?
Good luck with your studies!
Andy
 

Postby Malcolm » Thu Mar 27, 2003 4:30 pm

Lethe is the river in Hades I believe - land of the dead in Greek(?) mythology. It just occurs to me that's probably where the word 'lethal' comes from.

Hence he's talking about committing suicide by a drug overdose.

Similar to the start of 'Ode on Melancholy' - "No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist wolf's-bane, tight rooted for its poisonous wine etc etc."

Not sure if that's the meaning you were after or something more profound!
Malcolm
 
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2003 10:51 am

Postby Guest » Wed Nov 19, 2003 3:39 am

just as a comment, i'm pretty sure the river lethe was the river of forgetfulness in Hell. Anyone who drank from it instantly forgot and the larger the dose the more they forgot
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i agree

Postby AC » Sun Feb 01, 2004 12:12 pm

"lethe" is the river of forgetfulness
AC
 

Re: Ode to a Nightingale

Postby Guest » Tue Mar 02, 2004 3:37 pm

Guest# wrote:I'm writing a paper on Keats' Ode to a Nightingale as well. I don't have a specific topic on it, I mainly am just trying to understand the poem in it's entirety. Therefore I can not help you with your topic but if you wouldn't mind aiding me in any way it would be much appreciated. I like your statement of him viewing nature with the same respect as a drug or alcohol. The poem is very complex long and has deep words. I find it a challange to try and decipher. But anyways it's a good solid poem and good luck with your paper.
:shock: :? :) :D :( :o :lol: 8) :wink: :roll: :arrow: :idea: :?: :evil: :twisted: :P :x :oops:
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