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Ode to a Nightingale

Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale” is often regarded as second in significance only to Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” as the quintessential Romantic poem, embodying many of the most pressing ideas and concerns of the era. “Ode to a Nightingale” research papers are chiefly preoccupied with questions of mortality and the evanescence of human existence.  While this Ode to a Nightingale research paper theme was very common in Romantic works, it was of particular interest to Keats. From his training as a surgeon to his slow decline as a result of tuberculosis, Keats was always very cognizant of the inevitability of death, and this fact is made abundantly clear in not only  “Ode to a Nightingale,” but also, in many of his other poems examined in literature research papers.

In “Ode to a Nightingale,” the speaker hears and wistfully reflects upon the “full-throated ease” of the nightingale’s song, which has the power to revive his dulled senses. The contrast of vivid reminders of life and contrasted with images of inevitable decay and disintegration throughout the poem; this juxtaposition is used to explore the vagaries of the muse and the creative process, another important concern of the Romantic poets. Like life, fancy and the imagination are fleeting and ephemeral; encountering the creative process is likened to a struggle, after which the poet, spent, must reluctantly return to his “sole self.” The fleeting encounter with the muse is over so quickly it seems unreal, and the speaker questions whether it even happened at all, or if it was merely a “a vision, or a waking dream.” Still, the potency of the creative process is demonstrated by the very existence of the poem itself, and the poet is transformed by his melancholy encounter with the sublime.  

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