Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats

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

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There are several themes running through "Ode to a Nightingale," but one is a longing to escape from the trials of life.

Indeed, the speaker (who, based on life experiences, could be Keats speaking as himself) begins the first line with this sentiment: "My heart aches." As he moves into the second stanza, he longs for wine to dull his senses and his sense of sadness. With his "purple-stained mouth" he wishes to "fade away" into the dim forest.

In the third stanza, the speaker notes some of the difficulties that surround him. People are tired and sick, and they sit around listening to each others' complaints. Youth fades into old age and then into death. And in between, there is much sorrow and despair.

The speaker reflects on the idea of death:

I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
In some ways, dying seems much easier than...

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