5/26/2019

How Keats contrasts the world of the nightingale with the world of man in "Ode to a Nightingale".


Ode to a Nightingale is a great product of the fertile imagination of John Keats. It is mainly a poem of contrast, contrast
between the world of man and that of the nightingale, between the world of reality and that of unreality, between impermanence and permanence. The poet represents the reality, impermanence and the nightingale represents the ideal, and impermanence.

The first stanza presents the contrast between the feeling of the
and that of the nightingale. The poet feels very sad to hear the sweet song of the nightingale. This song brings him excessive joy. In its excess, the joy turns into joyous pain. He thinks his power o
sensation is getting benumbed. Contrary to this unhappy mood of the poet, the happiness of the nightingale is conveyed to through its sweet song in the following lines:

That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singes of summer in full-throated ease.

When a man gets sick of his life, he wants to get rid of it. So the poet wants to lose himself in the world of the nightingale in order to forget the pain and sorrow of this world. The life of the nightingale is free from all kinds of pains and sufferings. It never experiences 'the weariness, the fever, and the fret. The human world is full of pain and sufferings, In this wodd
man cannot experience joy and pleasure.

The world of the nightingale is an ideal one where the queen moon is surrounded by starry fays. This ideal world is filled with different kinds of flowers like white hawthorns, pastoral eglantines
violets and musk-roses. There is a murmurous haunt of flies" But this world is not free from imperfections and limitations. Nothing is permanent, in this ideal world. Everything is transient.

Going to the world of the nightingale with the help of imagination the poet wants to die in the midst of flowers. He thinks if he can die in the world of Nightingale, his death will be a richer one:

Now more than ever seems it rich to die:
To ease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy.

To the poet the bird is immortal but human beings are mortal. In the seventh stanza the real world is set against the ideal world of the
nightingale. Herc Keats thinks of the nightingale's song unchanged in its appeal from age to age--

Thou was not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down.

Thus the poet has made a striking contrast between human world and the world of nightingale. But imagination could not keep the poet for ever to live in the world of the nightingale. He had to return to this real world at last--

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my soul self.

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