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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


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

Although it’s inferred metaphorically earlier in the poem, this is the first instance the narrator just states that humans die, but the urn will live on. This represents the narrator’s dwindling romantic vision of what it means to be an eternal piece of art, perhaps suggesting the narrator prefers to be mortal, learning a lesson through his struggle with the urn.

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

Keats 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. "Sylvan historian" is a way of saying the urn is a mythical deity who has become wise from so 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 hold the same position (as wanting to but never being able to kiss his lover). The speaker laments this fact, bringing the reader to a deeper understanding of both the scene and the speaker's feelings.

"in midst of other woe..."   (Ode on a Grecian Urn)

Keats implies that this eternal state of lifelessness is a kind of "woe" or sorrow that the urn and its figures suffer. In this, the speaker departs from his previous glorification of the urn to make an insightful comment about the tragedy of immortality.

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