Homework Help

In Ode to a Nightingale, what qualities does the bird possess that narrator seeks and...

user profile pic

kdkid | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 25, 2010 at 1:28 PM via web

dislike 1 like

In Ode to a Nightingale, what qualities does the bird possess that narrator seeks and how do we see this in the poem?

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

subrataray | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 9, 2010 at 1:33 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 4 like

To know the mind of a bird , one should at least be a bird. Keats attributes the state of aesthetic -delight on the nightingale .It is forgetful of the world of suffering , betrayal , and death .It lives in its ecstasy .As the bird signifies Keats' concept of art and immortality , so does it possesses the beauty of life .

In the poem no hungry generations tread it down .From remotest past to the times of the poet , and further , it continues on its glory of joy .The Biblical Ruth , medieval -emperors , maidens captivated by wicked magicians , - got soothed and delighted with the bird's music .Certainly , the poet does not mean an individual bird .From age to age the same trend of music perpetuates .This implies that the stage of art achieved by an artist remains the same .

The poet for achieving the state of the bird , tries to send his senses into sleep .With the wings of imagination , he stations himself to the bower of the bliss where the bird is singing with full-throated -ease .

user profile pic

jon0111 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 26, 2010 at 4:07 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 2 like

The nightingale, as Keats describes it, is not a part of the real world "where men sit and hear each other groan..." The bird is a part of something greater and more wonderful. Paradoxically for us, Keats associates this other-worldliness with death. We have to understand, though, that death in this sense means belonging to this other, more wonderful existence.

The speaker wants to be removed from the ordinary, mundane world and join that of the nightingale. He hears the bird's song and remarks that "Now more than ever seems it rich to die, / To cease upon the midnight with no pain..." It is not so much that the speaker wants to die as much as he wants to be removed from the real world and become part of the nightingale's.

What qualities does the speaker want that the bird has? The bird is care-free and at peace. It has no worldly worries or concerns.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes