Re: Urn's message, or is it the poets's?
- Well, we've discussed this topic several times over the years in this
group, but I don't think we ever came up with a definitive answer.
But, in any case, here is my opinion in a nutshell:
I think that, in the context of the poem, the urn is the voice of the
quote: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty." The subsequent lines,
however, are spoken by to poet as an afterthought. Together, these
lines form Keats' view. The Romantics as a general rule used images
of nature to express more abstract ideas, such as beauty and truth.
Keats not only wrote these things, but felt them and believed them.
The urn represents the subjective images of beauty and truth with a
concrete, objective object. I think it would have been entirely
natural of Keats to look on many tangible "things" and see below the
surface a symbolic "idea" that is difficult to express alone (or at
least I like to think that he would). Ode on a Grecian Urn, to me,
is a perfect representation of Keats not only as a poet, but as a
person, and looking past the words themselves we are given a glimpse
into his mind, and knowing a bit of "Keats history" we can definitely
see these ideas mirrored in his life.
What do you think about it?