John Keats Ode To Autumn Critical Analysis Essay

To Autumn by John Keates - Critical Analysis Essay example

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To Autumn by John Keates - Critical Analysis

John Keats once said about Lord Byron “He describes what he sees - I describe what I imagine, mine is the hardest task” To Autumn is evidence of his way of thinking, as the poem is a vivid, lyrical portrayal of the English autumn, as he imagined it.

The poem celebrates autumn as a season of abundance, a season of reflection, a season of preparation for the winter, and a season worthy of admiration with comparison to what romantic poetry often focuses upon - the spring. The poem is rather literal in its meaning as it does not convey a deeper level of meaning that relates to the reader. The poem fails to “move” the reader in a philosophical, idealistic or moralistic way, and therefore bears…show more content…

It emphasises the harmony of autumn and this effect, which is used often throughout the poem, could also be a metaphor for the slow down of life during autumn, and the imminent death of the season.

The poem follows the traditional framework of an ode. It is overly lyrical and has a rhythmic device, generally common to all three stanzas, with the exception of the first stanza. The poem follows a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDED CCE for the first stanza, and ABAB CDEC DDE for the second and third. It is unclear why Keats chose to follow a different rhyme scheme for the last two stanzas, but it is certainly not an accident. D and C “swap” rhythmic positions from line eight onwards. The poem employs iambic pentameter, each line as ten syllables.

The poem compares autumn to spring in the third stanza.

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-

This is where the true meaning of the poem is conveyed. Obviously Keats had recognised the almost cliché use of spring, as new life in romantic poetry, and of the poetry before this era. His motive behind this poem is to employ an understanding that the autumn, which represents the end of life, is just as important as the spring, which represents new life. The autumn has it’s own music too. The personification of autumn in this poem is

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"To Autumn" has a relatively intricate rhyme scheme of abab cdedccee in the first stanza and the 2nd and third stanzas are abab cdecdde. The ode describes autumn and in the second and third stanzas, the poet speaks directly to a personified autumn, a technique called apostrophe. It may be that the rhyme scheme changes a bit in the second stanza to accompany the shift from description to a direct address. 

In the first stanza, Keats...

"To Autumn" has a relatively intricate rhyme scheme of abab cdedccee in the first stanza and the 2nd and third stanzas are abab cdecdde. The ode describes autumn and in the second and third stanzas, the poet speaks directly to a personified autumn, a technique called apostrophe. It may be that the rhyme scheme changes a bit in the second stanza to accompany the shift from description to a direct address. 

In the first stanza, Keats emphasizes the sights and smells of early autumn. These lines are bursting with life and movement, the ripening process itself, literally coming to life. Autumn is compared to a woman in union with a male sun (perhaps a pun on son), their interaction a kind of procreation, making life all around them. During early autumn, farmers are still collecting the harvest, the fruits of labor and the result of life which was planted in the spring. The stanza ends with those fruits personified as well, thinking their "warm days will never cease." 

In the second stanza, the poet talks directly to autumn and imagines her (autumn) patiently witnessing the end of ripening and the completion of the harvest. 

In the final stanza, the poet laments the absence of spring's sounds, but tells autumn that her music is beautiful too. This stanza emphasizes the sounds of late autumn which foretell the coming winter. The swallows gather for their migration. Their twittering is like a church bell marking the close of the day. The stanzas are also arranged within the structure of a day: morning midday and evening. And they are arranged in the structure of a life: conception/birth, growth and death. 

Winter, the end of autumn, is symbolic of death. Despite the morbid sense of this symbolism, the poet accepts the end as it is a natural part of life. In many of Keats' poems, he illustrates how joy and sadness exist together. Being aware of death, one's own mortality, is key to appreciating life. Being conscious of the fact that life is fleeting (that winter/death will come) should lead one to not take it for granted. 

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