Greek Motifs

Discussion on the works of John Keats.

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Greek Motifs

Postby uniqueniqueib » Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:17 am

what is with Keats and all of these references to greece and greek mythology, like in On first looking into Chapmen's Homer, and Ode on a Grecian Urn.
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Postby dks » Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:01 am

Don't forget Ode to Psyche...and Endymion and Hyperion...etc, etc...he loved the arcane Classics. He studied them intently, both alone and within the works of his idols--Shakespeare and Spenser and Milton... :wink:
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Postby Saturn » Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:37 am

Greek mythology was ubiquitous in the culture of the time. Everyone as surrounded by Classical Greek and Roman referencs from an early age at school and it was a literary convention by that time that to write in a profound way was to write on Classical themes.
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;)

Postby woolf_fire37 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:59 pm

If you're an IB kid, that was in our notes on Romanticism. :) And if you're not, disregard this message. :P
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Postby Saturn » Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:17 am

IB :?:

:?
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:)

Postby woolf_fire37 » Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:47 am

International Baccalaureate program. Or IB for short. It's a worldwide honors program. :)
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Postby Saturn » Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:56 pm

Oh thanks for clearing that up.
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Greek Mythology

Postby Halcyon » Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:07 pm

8) IB forever! 8)

Speaking of Classical themes "To Homer" is in my opinion the coolest sonnet Keats wrote. The sublime references to the Greek deities (except they were the Roman names Jove,Neptune)
show that Keats admired and studied mythology at an early age.
Romanticism still had important elements of the Classical period in which writters would try to emulate Clasical themes/writters.

My favorite line is " There is a triple sight in blindness keen"
This shows Keats' mastery of a parodox. He is referring to Homer's blindness and yet he has with his imagination a triple sight akin to the Greek goddess Diana's three forms.
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Postby acrosstheuniverse64 » Tue Oct 31, 2006 12:30 am

Hi! I finally found out how to comment on this forum, and I read your comment, Halcyon, and I was so excited because I completely agree with you! "To Homer" is my favorite Keats poem too! I think that the imagery in this poem is the most beautiful out of all of Keats' poems that I have read.

The light and dark imagery is particularly effective in creating contrast in the poem of a life with immagation versus a life deviod of immagination. There are so many beautiful images of illumination in darkness and such great uses of PARADOX (my favorite literary device), such as "Aye on the shores of darkness there is light."

What did you get as the main theme/idea behind the poem?
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To Homer is a verb?

Postby Scrib » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:38 pm

Hello Dearie...To Homer is trying to get across the point that being blind releases so much more creativity and paints a much more beautiful image through words than the reality of seeing something would.

Also, after reading this poem, I reread the title and thought maybe instead of writing the Ode to Homer, possibly Keats is creating a new verb, as in "To Homer" something is "to see something through the creative eyes of darkness..." anyone else think that?
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Re: To Homer is a verb?

Postby Saturn » Tue Oct 31, 2006 11:35 pm

Scrib wrote:Also, after reading this poem, I reread the title and thought maybe instead of writing the Ode to Homer, possibly Keats is creating a new verb, as in "To Homer" something is "to see something through the creative eyes of darkness..." anyone else think that?


Very interesting idea - I'd never thought of that, but in all honesty I don't think that was Keats' intention.
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Postby acrosstheuniverse64 » Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:25 pm

Hi Scrib :wink:

Wow that's actually a very cool thought, regardless of whether or not it was actually what Keats intended.

Yes I got the "seeing farther because of his blindness" idea out of the poem too- it's such a beautiful theme for a poem. Sight is described as being only a hindrance to the beauty of thought and imagination because it prevents the mind from seeing unearthly beauty.

What about lines 7-8 when the gods of Neptune and Pan are mentioned? I found there to be a very negative connotation in both of these lines, e.g. "spumy tent" and "forest hive." Could it be that these two lesser gods are displaying their resentment for Homer because Jove has allowed this mortal to see the world of the divine?
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Postby jediace90 » Wed Nov 01, 2006 9:02 pm

acrosstheuniverse64, I looked at the "spumy tent" and "forest-hive" to try and figure out why Keats uses these negative-sounding ideas. This is what I came up with. In line 6 ("For Jove uncurtain'd Heaven to let thee live") Jove removed the curtain and, thus, allowed Homer to see the good and beauty of things (heaven). However, the next two lines have the negative connotations ("spumy tent" and "forest-hive"). In order for one to have a complete vision of something, they must be able to see all sides of it. Perhaps Keats is saying that Homer could see both the good and bad of everything. The coexistance of negative and positive is evident in many of Keats' works, so why not this one?

Random comment: This poem also reminds me of a line that Obi-Wan Kenobi says to Luke Skywalker when Luke is training:
"Your eyes can deceive you, don't trust them."
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Postby Kaki » Wed Nov 01, 2006 9:09 pm

That wasn't how I saw the use of spumy and hive. I thought it was more of a way of including the other senses. Hive would be sound, like a bee hive, or jjust a foest in general with birds and critters running around. Spumy was something tangable that you could touch and feel.
The the other senses are better appreciated as if they are gifts from the gods, or something like that.
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Postby acrosstheuniverse64 » Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:05 am

I agree with your logic, jediace90, and definately like the idea of being able to see both the good and the bad to have truly divine vision, but still, does that answer why Keats would have chosen for the two lesser gods to partake in these negative connotations? I fell that there must be some significance in this, as if they are harboring anger toward Homer.

And in response to your responce (haha) Kaki, I have to say I disagree. Why then, for example, would Keats choose to use the term "forest hive" instead of a more euphonic word to describe Pan's enchanting instrument? Wouldn't this still incorporate sound?
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