Essay: Analysis of Ode to a Nightingale

Sample Essay

Contrast between the static and a flux state is seen in the setting of the poem. As it starts, the bird is singing on top of a tree near the persona’s position (1-10). However, as the poem progresses, the setting changes several times, shifting from the real world to a world of fancy (46-47) where the talks of flying away with the bird to the moon and stars. At the end, the persona comes back to the real world (80-90) where he realizes that he was just dreaming.

The theme of eternity is seen through the persona as he longs for an everlasting feeling brought by the nightingale. He has a fancy of flying away with the bird to the moon and stars, “Through the verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways” (40). This view is, however, sharply contrasted by in stanza 2. Keats describes how the twists of life wear down on the strong. Their hair turns grey and the youth become pale, thin and then die. He thus says’ “Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes / or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow” (29-30). He also describes the fancies brought about by the bird as temporary when he says, “Adieu, the fancy can’t cheat so well / …deceiving elf” (82-83).

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