Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats
1. Why has Keats Chosen the Grecian urn for the subject of his ode?
2. Explain the significance of the line "Beauty is truth, truth is beauty." How does this line relate to Keats's poem?
3. Analyze Keats's use of numbered sections
[Until October 2013, it has formerly been eNotes policy to answer only one question per post.]
Keats has chosen a Grecian urn for the subject of his poem for a few reasons. The ancient Greeks were heavily admired by the artists throughout time in western culture. By choosing a Grecian urn for his subject, Keats in using this allusion to classic antiquity and having the reader recall the great artistic attributes of that particular culture. He also uses the image of the Grecian urn as a common item that people can relate to. Since it is one of those classic pieces of art history and admired as sign of the greatness of the past, he uses this in his theme of timelessness. He states, "happy, boughs! that cannot shed/Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;". This is also why he would choose the urn specifically. It contrasts this eternal nature with death.