Ode on a Grecian Urn Questions and Answers
by John Keats

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What are the literary devices in "Ode on a Grecian Urn"?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Literary devices cover just about any technique a writer or poet uses to communicate a message to the reader. Before looking at the devices Keats uses, we can start with the message that he is trying to convey and see what devices he uses to reinforce his points. In this poem, Keats hopes to communicate how mesmerized or enchanted he is as he gazes at the picture on a Grecian urn. He wants us to see the picture on the urn just as he does. He also wants us to understand how excited he is at the emotions the picture evokes in him. As he looks at the young people merrily headed to a pagan festival, he thinks, wow, because they are works of art, they will never age! They will never get sick! They will always be as happy as they are at this moment, which is a very happy moment for them. How cool is that? As he thinks about this, he experiences an outburst of joy that he wants us to feel too. He also wants us to think, as he does, about whether it is better to be mortal or to be a work of art,...

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kaliesoccer184 | Student

And I do not believe the answer above is accurate; there are positively 5 stanzas on my copy of Ode on a Grecian Urn.

revolution | Student

Actually, the above answer is not entirely accurate. This sentence "There are five ten-line stanzas with a single rhyme scheme that combines the “quatrain of a Shakespearean sonnet with the sestet of a Petrarchan sonnet.”" is wrong. It should have been:

"There are eight (not five) ten-line stanzas with a single rhyme scheme that combines the “quatrain of a Shakespearean sonnet with the sestet of a Petrarchan sonnet.”

The other literary device used in the story is as follows:

  • alliteration
  • personfication
  • rhyming
  • assonance and more.