vol 17 no 2,2017

Immortality, Escape and Relations between the Nightingale and the Poet in Keats's"Ode to a Nightingale"


This paper is an attempt to understand "Ode to a Nightingale"* in light of the ideas of immortality and escape,in addition to relations between the bird and the poet. Studying these overwhelming ideas can help readers to better understand and appreciate the depth of this Ode. It is clear that the poet's ultimategoal is to achieve immortalityby joining the nightingale in the forest, and so he might obtain what he desires through creativity. However, escape is related to immortality because the poet tries to escape from the world of realities to the world of imagination embodied in the song of the nightingale. There are movements in the poem from the temporal to the eternal, that is, from real and ordinary life to poetic imagination. The poet's escape is a step toward creativity through his communion with the nightingale, which is an emblem of poetic creativity and immortality.It is important to notice that death, as mentioned in the Ode,is not only physical but is also connected to imagination and itsfulfillment,in addition to relations with the bird. At the end of the Ode, the poet asks an open-ended question, showing that he is immersed in a vision that enables him to be identical to the nightingale, and so he is able to sing his song, that is, to compose lines of poetry.

Keywords: death, escape, imagination, nightingale, poetic creativity, reality, symbol
* Hereafter, I'll refer to "Ode to a Nightingale" as Ode.


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