Ode to a Nightingale Questions and Answers
by John Keats

Ode to a Nightingale book cover
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"John Keats is haunted by the conflict between the ideal world and the real world." Discuss this statement in relation to his poem "Ode to a Nightingale."

In the poem "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats, the poet is conflicted by the difference between an ephemeral ideal world that he perceives in the nightingale's song and the real world he lives in that causes him to despair and long for death. His poetry is what allows him to transcend the real world, and in the end, he wonders if the ideal world he glimpses through the nightingale's song is an illusion.

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In the poem "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats, the haunting song of a nightingale causes the poet to receive a tantalizing glimpse of an ideal world. Keats contrasts this with the real world in which he lives, which seems so drab and depressing in comparison.

At the beginning of the poem, the dull reality in which the poet lives has put him into a deathlike state, as if he has drunk "hemlock," a deadly poison, or has taken an opiate, a strong debilitating drug. In contrast, he presents the happy song of the nightingale, the "light-winged Dryad of the trees." He wants to aspire to this lighthearted happiness, but he doesn't know how. In the second stanza, he longs to drink wine, considering that maybe this might cause him to enter the ideal world that he glimpses through the nightingale's song.

The poet wants to escape from the real world, which he describes in the third stanza. It is full of weariness, fever, fret, the groans of men, old people with palsy, women who lose their beauty,...

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