Keats and Shelley Essay

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In Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “To a Skylark” and John Keats “Ode to a Nightingale” the imagery of the bird represents two conflicting ideas. “To a Skylark” uses the bird imagery to reflect an almost dream-like world filled with light, joy, and bliss. In “Ode to a Nightingale” it is the song that awakens the speaker and forces him to question his perceptions about the differences between dreams and reality. The two poets compare many of the same ideas to express their points, but they use them in completely different contexts. Both poets use images of lightness and darkness, beauty and youth, and also many different nature analogies to express their thoughts of happiness and reality. By examining the two different poems, the reader is left with an ambiguous picture of dreams and reality, and it is ultimately up to them to decide which side to choose. When looking from your own perspective everything seems much the same; but the speakers in "To a Skylark" and "Ode to a Nightingale" are not living in reality and so they view the same world through very different eyes. The speakers of both “Ode to a Nightingale” and “To a Skylark” are both living in a world detached from reality. The speaker in Keats’ poem is in a depressed state, and he uses alcohol as his escape: “That I might drink, and leave the world unseen”(Keats, 19). The nightingale’s purpose is to show the speaker that there is an escape from the pain he is living in: “hearing the song induces Keats to forget and also remember what is unhappy in life” (O’Neill, 64). By allowing the speaker to realize what is unhappy in his life, the bird is able to help him realize that there can be happiness for him. “Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam/ of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn” (Keats, 69- 70). The speaker describes how the nightingale rescues him from danger, bringing him to a magical
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