Critically analyze "Ode to a Nightingale" as a representative ode of Keats.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I suppose one of the ways we can answer this question is by looking at the content and the themes of this excellent ode. There are clear thematic links between this ode and other odes by Keats, such as "Ode on a Grecian Urn," with their focus on beauty and the way that beauty is linked to human suffering. In both poems, we have two symbols that are used to represent beauty, in the nightingale and the Grecian urn. Likewise, both poems focus on artistic talent and the way that creating beauty can help free us from our earthly sufferings. However, simultaneously, we have the bitter-sweet recognition that the appreciation of beauty and its eternal nature only serves to remind us of how transitory we are as humans, and how we must accept our own mortality and the way that suffering and death will claim us sooner or later.