Ancient Ode

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The contrast between the eternity of art and the terrible destiny of human’s life is not only expressed directly by comparison. Keats was also very known for putting Classic Greek elements in his works. In these three odes we can see numerous examples of that. First of all ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ has the word Grecian in its title, and the whole ode is very influence by the Greek mythology. ‘In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?/What men or gods are these?’ He mentions in the first stanza the cities of Tempe and Arcady, which were known as forms of paradise in classical Greece. He also refers to ‘gods’ (8) in the plural, as in classical Greece where people where polytheists. This starts the contrast since gods, as art, are also immortal. He later mentions an ‘altar’ (32), as in the Alter of the Twelve Gods.
The nightingale’s ode might not seem to be very connected with Greece or its mythology, but in reality it is very much. The nightingale alludes to a Greek myth of a girl named Philomela, whose tongue was cut off so she wouldn’t tell anyone about her rape. She was later turned into a nightingale by the gods in order to escape from death. The speaker does not remain only on the subtle allusion to Philomela’s
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However these references allude to the poems’ message but also to the contrast between man’s mortality and art’s immortality. Ancient Greece is considered a classical period, whose art is immortal, their philosophy, literature, theatre, music, science, architecture and mythology left an enormous legacy in western culture. This civilisation left their mark in our world, their culture and art is then immortal, unlike their lives. Keats did the same thing, while his life was short and he did not experience a lot of things, he left his mark through his art, that will remain, as the Greek’s art,
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