John Keats Hellenism
John Keats in the most sensuous of all the romantic poets. His poems express tender emotion. Keats poems have the richest and most tensely emotional effect. They are remarkable for the magie of sheer poetic beauty. He lived a miserable life which tormented him.
Moreover, his failure of love with Fanny Brawne dejected him and it was reflected n many of his poems. Keats was a passionate lover of beauty. He adores beauty like a devotee.
His adoration of beauty is almost pagan. To him a truth and beauty are anonymous. He believes “What imagination seizes beauty must be the truth” and this is known as Keats' “negative apability".
In other words, Keats loses himself into an object of beauty that he adores. He forgets all about the world of reality and takes shelter into the world of beauty, imagination and in the world of trees where nightingale inhabits. There is an emotional entity of Keats in his poetry, separate from his own identity.
In fact, Keats is a bundle of emotions. Keats makes use of Greek imageries and mythology to express his sense of beauty. His poems are also remarkable for the recurrent theme of transience and permanence.
To him, every thing-love, life, beauty is short-lived. On the other hand, everything belonging to the world of beauty and imagination is permanent.
Three central and independent themes resound through Keats' poetry. The relationship between the ideal world of art and the human world of sufferings, the nature of poetry itself and attention to Pre- Christian mythology. Keats was so preoccupied with the myth that he himself was subject to mythologizing.
He has become an English classic. He has acquired an idea that the Greeks were a most tasteful people and that no mythology can be so finely adapted for the purpose of poetry as theirs.
The genius of Mr Keats is peculiarly classical. He imagination and his language have a spirit and intensity. He has none of Byron's egotism-selfishness.
His feelings are intense and original. He speaks of and describes nature not with awe and humanity but with a deep and almost breathless affection. He knows that nature is better and older than he is. He does not put himself on an equality with her.
The moon, the mountain, the foliage of the wood, the sky, the rock, the desert, the sea and the leaves of the flower etc. are the spirit of his poetry.
His odes intensify those circumstantial concern to reveal to tragedy dwells inside the romance.
For example: “Ode to a Nightingale” presents such a Kestsian idea. Keats' odes are remarkable for central themes. They are the theme of transience and permanence, love for beauty, melancholy, nature etc.
A contrast between art and life is the most recurrent theme of Keats' ode. Often he is called a poet of negative capability- no self or no personality. He adores an object of beauty and loses himself into it.
In other words, he takes shelter in beauty or imagination to forget the agonies of reality. This is also known for his negative capability.
His poem “Ode to a Nightingale” is the most representative of his poems reflecting his romantic temperament. The poem is remarkable for his sensuous imageries and the common theme of romantic literature- the fading of the vision of the glorious dream. The poet hovers between his own world and the world of nightingale.
There is another feature of his imagery worth attention. It is the inclusion of Hellenic mythology in the construction of his imagery. Apart from it, we can also say that a portion of Nightingale and the whole of “Psyche” and “Grecian Urn” are based on Hellenic imagery and sense of beauty.
Keats unlike any other poet can be thoroughly identified with an object of his worship, namely a thing of beauty and such a typical Keatsian situation is provided in almost all his poems. In fact, Keats uses Greek imageries to express his sensuousness and sense of beauty.