Analyse the different attitudes the poets John Keats and P. B. Shelley have towards nature in the poems “Ode To A Nightingale,” “Ode On A Grecian Urn,” “Ode To Autumn,” “Ode To The West Wind” and “To A Skylark. ” A: “Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye — it also includes the inner pictures of the soul,” (Edvard Munch. ) The five poems “Ode To A Nightingale,” “Ode On A Grecian Urn,” “Ode To Autumn,” “Ode To The West Wind” and “To A Skylark,” reveal the perspectives of John Keats and P. B. Shelley towards life, nature and human identity.Order now
The poets fluently convey their innermost feelings to the readers by using effective means of expression and sophisticated forms of language. These five nature poems look differently upon human perspectives and narrate a tale relating to the poets’ own lives and experiences. There is a symbolism in every motif used and a hidden truth in every poem. The poems are encrusted with a deep philosophical message concerning either the wastefulness of human life or the fruitfulness of nature. Comprising of the various themes of loss, death and ferocity in nature, the poems cause its readers to enter the very minds of the poets.
Keats and Shelley are amongst the most renowned Romantics writers of their times. Keats believed in the inferiority of man as compared to nature because he, as a patient of tuberculosis, could only notice the moments of his life slipping away. Moreover, witnessing the death of his family magnifies his grief. Keats therefore shares his obsession with the subject of “silence and slow time. ” For him, the stagnant picture on the Grecian urn is far more superior to the flux in human life. To John Keats, even the nightingale is an “immortal bird” which has filled entire “generations” with “harmonious madness.
“(To a skylark. ) Thus to Keats, Man is only symbolic to an individual who will one day “grow pale and spectre-thin,” but the nightingale represents an entire species which owns both, symphony and “full-throated ease. ” Another Romantic poet whose ideas coincide with Keats’ is Dylan Thomas. In one of his poems, ‘The Force That Thorough The Green Fuse Drives The Flower,’ Thomas makes direct and philosophical references to death and disease. He conveys the idea that the nature that gives life can also destroy when needed and can thus force people into a state of “wintry fever.
” Dylan Thomas as a poet seems to write about the same ideas as Keats does. P. B. Shelley on the other hand represents freedom and excitement through his poems. Due to his rebellious nature, Shelley’s writing is packed with enthusiasm and openness. He seems to be greatly influenced with the idea of freedom in all the aspects of nature and thus beckons the skylark to “pourest thy full heart. ” Shelley has a missionary’s zeal to change the world. He wants to become the “impetuous,” “wild west wind” to “drive” his “dead thoughts over the universe.
” Shelley explains his need to reach out to the whole universe and he therefore personifies the west wind to be able to share his thoughts with one and all. Shelley also seems to have a “cheerful faith” in nature. (Tintern Abbey). However unlike Shelley, William Wordsworth, a renowned Romantics writer finds solace in nature. Wordsworth is like a high priest of nature. To him nature is a blend of compassion and cherishing. His poem “Lines Written A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey,” shows that under the influence of nature, the “weary weight” upon his mind “is lightened.
” Thus we see that nature has the power to appease Wordsworth’s ruffled thoughts. His poem ” Tintern Abbey,” deals with the theme of nostalgia. In the poem, Wordsworth reminisces the cheerful memories of his childhood. Just like Shelley, he personifies nature and his “spirit” turns to it in times in “sad perplexity. ” To Wordsworth nature not only provides strong companionship but also “pleasures of” his “boyish days. ”
Therefore we can say that even though the poems of John Keats, P. B. Shelley, Dylan Thomas and William Wordsworth revolve around the main theme of nature, they have varying attitudes towards the same subject. Keats’ poems “To Autumn” and “Ode To A Nightingale,” bring out the compassionate element in nature and depict it as a gentle and caring figure. On the other hand, his poem “Ode On A Grecian Urn” is inspired by a Roman copy of a Greek vase. However in all his poems Keats gives the readers a thorough description of the nature he witnesses but even this description is influenced with his own perspective of life and humanity.
Shelley on the other hand personifies the west wind and gives it the twin personality of a “preserver and a destroyer. ” Shelley is fascinated with the west wind because for Shelley, the west wind is a tool for spreading his ideas and thoughts. In his poem ‘To A Skylark,’ Shelley talks about recluse and freedom. Due to his own free life, Shelley finds peace and comfort in independence. Thus in the poem, “To A Skylark,” Shelley hails the “blithe spirit” of the bird. His poem brings out the not only the unconcealable beauty of nature but also pays a tribute to the “sunburnt mirth” in the skylark.
(Ode To A Nightingale). The titles used by the poets not only bring out the true essence of the poem but also communicate its central idea. Most of the poems have been written in odes to reveal the poets’ passion towards nature. ‘Ode To A Nightingale’ and ‘To A Skylark’ bring out Keats’ and Shelley’s appreciation towards birds which represent liberty. Keats has written the poem as an ode because he feels “to think is to be full of sorrow. ” Thus he says that he would like to exchange his position with the nightingale and would like to flee on the “viewless wings of poesy.
‘Ode on a Grecian urn,’ is written by Keats in praise of a vase so as to marvel its beauty. Since Keats had a profound interest in art and nature, he may have written this poem to praise the beauty that can be created and witnessed even in inanimate objects. For Keats, even a lifeless object is the figure of charm and elegance as he is on the crossroads of his life. He therefore can no longer dismiss even the little joys in his life and cannot take them for granted. Similarly, the poems ‘Ode To Autumn’ and ‘Ode To The West Wind’ narrate an articulate admiration towards the “fruitful” season of autumn .