Ode to a Nightingale Questions and Answers
by John Keats

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What is the theme of the poem "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats?

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One could argue that the main theme of "Ode to a Nightingale" is the way in which the joys of nature and the exercise of the imagination can only ever offer a partial glimpse of eternity. Both nature and the imagination find their concrete expression in the figure of the nightingale, a creature that lives in this world but whose gorgeous melody transcends this world to hint at something timeless and enduring.

In the nightingale, the speaker sees the chance of respite from the pain and the endless heart-wrenching realities of life. But as he ruefully reflects, such respite can only ever be temporary. No matter how many draughts of vintage he drinks or how often he listens to the golden tones of the nightingale, he will at some point always find himself deposited back in the world of the here and now, the world of pain and suffering.

To his great sorrow, the speaker realizes that the only way he can possibly escape this vale of tears once and for all is through "easeful Death". The song of...

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