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Ode on a Grecian Urn
In John Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn", a boy finds himself entangled in his dream about an ancient carving. Keats uses an assortment of techniques to bring life to the work and make it more enjoyable to read. Using these techniques helps keep the readers attention, while also helping the reader to better relate to the situation.
Imagery is the technique most widely used, probably because everyone can relate to it in their own way. John Keats uses imagery to make the reader truly feel what he is describing. One of Keats' examples of imagery is found at the begining of the second stanza when he writes, "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter." This leaves the reader feeling a sense of sweetness about the pipers melodies.
When a writer uses the dictionary definition of a word it is called denotation. Keats speaks of "timbrels" in the tenth line; it should be expected that the majority will not know what that word means.
Keats uses connotation to add more passion to his writing and emotion to his words. His use of connotation is concurrent with imagery in the last line of the third stanza when he writes, "A burning forehead, and a parching tongue." By using these two literary elements in conjunction with each other he was able to create larger emphasis over that statement.
Allusion is the technique used to refer back in history or literature. Authors and poets both use allusion to bring content and a realistic environment to the work. Keats tells of the dales of Arcady, adding to his work, another dimension of reality.
Irony is the discrepancy of what is expected to happen and what really does happen. "Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss," is ironic because generally one would think of lovers kissing ,but, these two will never be able to show their affection. Irony is a widely used technique because it has the ability to create vivid twists in the plot that make it much more exciting to read.
When the author writes a statement that means less than what he intended, it is called an understatement. Authors often use powerful words in certain parts of a play giving additional emphasis to something insignificant, or using overstatement. However, an understatement can actually be more powerful than an overstatement. In "Ode on a Grecian Urn," John Keats uses understatement very effectively when he writes, "What men or gods are these."
Hyperbole is a literary term is often used in short stories and poems where the author exaggerates or overstates what he means. In "Ode on a Grecian Urn" Keats writes, "More happy love! More happy, happy love!" The boy in the story could not have such an overwhelming love for a carving on an urn.
The literary term that conveys truth is called paradox which uses apparent contradiction. John Keats writes, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty - that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know." This is a great example of a paradox revealing a truth about life.
A simile is a direct comparison of two essentially dissimilar objects using the word "like" or "as" in the comparison. Similes are often used to help glamorize a story with vivid comparisons. Keats uses simile in "Ode on a Grecian Urn": "Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought as doth eternity."
Metaphors are comparisons of two unlike subjects that are meant to make the work more exciting to read. Keats compared the youth to the trees when he said he would never leave the trees so the trees cannot become bare.
The literary term personification lends human characteristics to inanimate objects, in order to help the reader better relate to the subject. One example of personification in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is "happy, happy boughs." Keats tries to associate emotions with the boughs of a tree.
When an author makes a direct reference to an inanimate object, he is using an
apostrophe. The most obvious apostrophe in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is "Cold Pastoral." It was a direct reference to the cold marble from which the urn was made.
A symbol is anything that has a meaning of its own but also stands for something beyond itself. In the poem, the urn was symbolic of eternity because it would always be in its preserved state.
Tone is the author's attitude revealed toward the subject.
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