Summary of “Ode To A Nightingale” by John Keats
One of the beautiful poems written by Keats is “Ode to A Nightingale.” It is spontaneous expression of the life Keats was living. He wrote this poem when one of his brothers went to America and one had died. It was a period when his family life was totally disturbed. He had great attachment with his brothers especially with the brother who had died. He was facing the financial pressure. In so far as his own condition was concerned, he was faced with tuberculosis. His beloved Fenny Brawne had also proved unfaithful to him. All these facts compelled the poet to establish a connection between pain and pleasure.
In the first stanza, the poet gets a chance of listening to the nightingale’s song. His pleasure knows no bounds. But after some time, this joyous moment becomes joyous pain for him. He thinks that he is going to have numbness because he thinks that it seems as if he had taken hemlock. That’s why, he is thinking that he is going to have forgetfulness as a result of it.
In the second stanza, he seems an escapist and wishes to lose himself in the song of the nightingale and the abode the nightingale is living. The reason he wishes to listen the song is his idea that the place where the nightingale is living will definitely be the place that is peaceful. He wishes to have the intoxicating effect of wine to have an access to the place where the nightingale is living. But then he wishes to die and leave the world unseen. “That I might drink and leave the world unseen.”
In the third stanza, once again as in the second stanza, he seems an escapist. He is unable to bear what he is suffering. He believes that he should leave the world unseen because it is the only way which can give him relief from the misery and pain.
In the fourth stanza, the poet wishes to go to nightingale but not through intoxication got through wine but by the poetic imagination to get relief and relaxation from the fever and fret of the world.
In the fifth stanza, the poet uses his sensuous faculties to describe the nature. With the active imaginative eye, he is fully ready to describe the beautiful objects around him.
In the sixth stanza, the poet realizes that he has never felt such happiness and relief in his life as he is going to listen the song of the nightingale. But once again, he wishes to die because he is sure that nothing except his death will relieve him from the miseries and problems of his life.
In the seventh stanza, the poet makes a comparison and believes that the bird is an immortal spirit while the man’s life is mortal. However, the voice of the nightingale’s song becomes faint and he has to return to the world of reality. He once again feels that the escape from the stark realities of life is not possible.
In short, the poem is a master-piece by a genius like Keats. This poem brings before us the poetic and imaginative power of Keats. The poem also brings before us the power of Keats’ sensuousness. (Words: 542)