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Character Analysis in Ode on a Grecian Urn

Character Analysis Examples in Ode on a Grecian Urn:

Ode on a Grecian Urn

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"When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain..."   (Ode on a Grecian Urn)

Although it is suggested metaphorically earlier in the poem, this is the first instance in which the speaker acknowledges human death. The urn, however, will live on. This imminent sense of finitude heightens the speaker's encounter with the ancient urn, from whom he solicits the timeless wisdom of the final lines.

"Sylvan historian..."   (Ode on a Grecian Urn)

Keats further establishes the urn as a character when he names it "Sylvan historian." Because the urn has been around so long and seen so many people come and go, its timelessness and resilience makes it an active part of history. The epithet "Sylvan historian" almost figures the urn as a mythical deity who has become wise from its many years on earth.

"never canst thou kiss..."   (Ode on a Grecian Urn)

Keats represents the "Bold Lover" as a figure frozen in time, doomed by virtue of being painted to the eternal position of wanting, but never having, his lover. The speaker laments this fact, bringing the reader to a deeper understanding of the scene and his feelings about it.

"She cannot fade..."   (Ode on a Grecian Urn)

For Keats, the figures on the Grecian urn have been immortalized by virtue of their being frozen in time. Just as Keats's speaker expresses admiration for the urn, he may also feel jealous of its immortality, perhaps yearning to live a long life full of beauty.

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