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What do these lines mean? "Beauty is truth, truth beauty"-that is all Ye know on Earth,...

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sexytexan88 | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 19, 2007 at 9:49 PM via web

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What do these lines mean? "Beauty is truth, truth beauty"-that is all Ye know on Earth, and all ye need to know. Are they spoken by the narrator or the urn?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 19, 2007 at 10:45 PM (Answer #1)

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The urn speaks these lines to mankind. They address an age old philosophical question: what is truth? The lines mean that rather than seeking the answer to this question in pure reason, we should seek it in beauty: that beauty is the truest thing humanity can experience.

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ypawielski1 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted March 19, 2007 at 11:29 PM (Answer #2)

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Opinions are divided whether this is Keats' or the urn's comment. Due to the punctuation of the lines, it is conceivable Keats is declaring that beauty is the only time that a subject's true inner nature truly revealed.

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mattphin | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 19, 2008 at 9:13 AM (Answer #3)

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   This poem is about 'living in the moment', the 'getting is better than the having'. Why should one be remembered lifeless (trans. urn)? That perception will always be someone elses perception; not your being.

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