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Keats' Use of Imagery in "Ode to a Nightingale"

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This posting discusses in detail Keats' use of imagery as a powerful tool to recreate the environment, which has images for all the senses.

The response also explains some of the images used by Keats. It also discusses the autobiographical aspect of the poem.

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Solution Summary

Keats' use of imagery is emphasized. The 'Ode to a Nightingale' is assessed.

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<b>Ode to a Nightingale</b>

John Keats was one of the pre-eminent Romantic poets who were influenced by Greek Classical literature and mythology. In his poem 'Ode to a Nightingale', which he writes after the death of his younger brother, Keats uses imagery to explicate his pain.

Imagery is the use of words to create a picture. In other words we can say that imagery is word picture. It can be done in various manners. But Keats is primarily using images to give expression to the pain and suffering. At the same time, he is using imagery to contrast the magical impact of melodious music of a nightingale.

Here, Keats takes poetic license. While he addresses the nightingale as an individual bird, the implication of 'thou immortal' bird is that he is addressing the species. The poem opens with three heavily accented syllables 'My heart aches', which signify his sense of pain, which is benumbed by the images of being poisoned, followed by the image of having ...

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