Thursday, 5 May 2011

Ode to Mortality

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Ode to mortality

The common theme in the two poems Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats, and Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost, is the idea of mortality. Frost uses the changing seasons to show the shortness of life. Keats uses the opposite effect. He uses a Grecian urn to show how terrible it would be to be immortal like the figures on the urn.

Robert Frost uses several images to show the shortness of life in the poem Nothing Gold Can Stay. He uses colors, time, and nature. Natures first green is gold, [Her] hardest hue to hold (Frost 800). Gold reminds people of being rich, or of having some kind of worth, and Frost uses the gold in time and nature to show how short and precious life is.

John Keats also relays his thoughts of life in his poem Ode on a Grecian Urn. He uses the decorations on the urn to show how sad it must be to never be able to live. The people on the urn are immortal in a way, but since they can never move or be different than they already are they are dead. Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave . . . [B]old lover, never, never canst thou kiss (Keats 7).

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In a way, the two poems want the opposite of each other. In Keats Ode on a Grecian Urn, it sounds like he wants the people on the urn to experience life, which is mortal, and will eventually end. Frosts poem Nothing Gold Can Stay seems like he wants things to be more immortal, and more like the way things are on the Grecian Urn. Even though both of these authors think very highly of life, they view its value in different ways.

Ode on a Grecian Urn is over a hundred years older than Nothing Gold Can Stay. Even though they are poems from totally different generations, and ways of life, they still send the same message. That message is even prevalent in todays day and age. This shows us as readers that the same universal thoughts that we have as human beings will always ring true.

Everyone wants to be happy, everyone wants to live, and everyone wants to love. These two poems show the longing for these basic human needs in similar yet different ways. Frost by letting us know how short life is, and Keats by letting us know how lucky we are that life is short.

Works Cited

Frost, Robert. Nothing Gold Can Stay. Literature Reading Writing Reacting. Ed. Laurie G Kirszner and Stephen R Mandell. 4th ed. Fort Worth Harcourt College Publishers, 001. 800.

Keats, John. Ode on a Grecian Urn. Literature Reading Writing Reacting. Ed. Laurie G Kirszner and Stephen R Mandell. 4th ed. Fort Worth Harcourt College Publishers, 001. 71-7.

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