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In "Ode to a Nightingale", the narrator would rather die in ecstasy of the moment than...

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julieashley1 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 16, 2008 at 4:50 PM via web

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In "Ode to a Nightingale", the narrator would rather die in ecstasy of the moment than fall back into the pain of everyday life. Does this sentiment have any validity in modern times which are filled with war and strife? Could this attitude be harmful?

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted September 16, 2008 at 8:16 PM (Answer #2)

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This makes me think of people who choose to participate in dangerous hobbies, like skydiving, bungee jumping (LOL), and others.  Dangerous and/or risky things that we do may or may not turn out the way we planned them to; however, many feel that NOT taking the risk would be much worse than taking the risk and possibly being injured or killed.  Sometimes when someone dies in a risky fashion, many people will say that, "He/she died doing what he/she loved and he/she would not have it any other way."  This provides a certain comfort to family members, friends, etc., when they know this.  For others, it simply makes them wonder if the risk-taker clearly thought out the risks.  

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted September 17, 2008 at 12:21 AM (Answer #3)

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As you read Keats's poetry, keep in mind that he knew he would die young. He had TB, and in his day there were no effective treatments, let alone a cure for the disease. Most of his poems are tinged with sadness and the desire to grasp more out of life.

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nathair | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 24, 2009 at 1:24 AM (Answer #4)

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In "Ode to a Nightingale", the narrator would rather die in ecstasy of the moment than fall back into the pain of everyday life. Does this sentiment have any validity in modern times which are filled with war and strife? Could this attitude be harmful?

I need all of your opinions on this one........

The poem is perhaps a kind of delineation of the power of emotional intensity to trigger reversals from agony to ecstasy, life to death, whereby (through the power of imagination) mind is mirrored in nature's opposite extremes. (Cf. Blake: 'excess of sorrow laughs; excess of joy weeps'). Keats was always an emotional extremist, but I'd suggest this is a way of living passionately and fully, rather than a path of negation of life, or destruction (like war).

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