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THE ABSTRACT AND THE TANGIBLE in JOHN KEATSS ODE ON A GRECIAN URN John Keatss Ode on a Grecian Urn is a poem that rests largely on the authors powerful imagination and therefore his extensive use of imagery is one of the most attractive elements of the poem Keats seems to be fascinated with the mystery of art and views beauty and love as a pure and unchanging form The poem contains many references to physical things A casual reader might accept these at face value but Keats modifies the traditional understanding of physical objects and uses them not as tangible articles but instead as metaphors for and connections to abstract concepts such as truth and eternity This essay analyzes the text and searches for connections between the abstract and the tangible and shows how in actuality physical things are perfect metaphors for abstract things I shall explore this connection through each stanza of the poem Keats use of imagery his possible reasons for writing this poem and the possible outlooks concerning the final and most ambiguous fifth stanza The poem starts with an introduction of the Grecian urn The urn passed down from centuries exists outside of chronology - it does not age or die This creates a paradox for the human figures carved on it they are free of time but are simultaneously frozen in time The Grecian urn is more than just a piece of pottery that Keats values because it has in some way defeated time and because it will never cease depicting youth and joviality Keats values this urn because of the message it conveys - that beautiful things are the embodiment of truth Beauty is truth truth beauty - that is all Line 49 The urn is described as a bride a foster-child and a historian All these personifications are subtle links to the abstract actions related to those roles which Keats assigns to the
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