What is the contrast between art and life in "Ode on a Grecian Urn"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Ah, one of my favorite controversial subjects to discuss about one of my very favorite poems EVER!

The contrast Keats creates between art and life in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is precisely this:  that art is better than life (hence the title of the poem).  In fact, Keats proves this when he says, "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard / Are sweeter."  Why is art better than life?  Art, as in the form of the urn, can capture life at its best and keep it there.  Here is my favorite example:

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, / Though winning near the goal--yet, do not grieve; / She cannot faded, though thou has not thy bliss, /...

(The entire section contains 356 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on