Explain how the poetry of John Keats reflects the values of Romanticism. The Romantic Era spanned roughly between 1798 and 1832 and its poetry places an emphasis on the imagination, nature and feeling. The Romantic period was associated with imagination as people looked with fresh curiosity into the workings of their own minds, generating ideas that laid a foundation for modern psychology. Romanticism emerged out of the rational thought of the Enlightenment Era into a redemptive and inspiring period. John Keats was born at the beginning of Romanticism making him a significant figure in the expression of these values. His poetry was a great example to the Romantic era and his poems; “When I have fears that I may cease to be” and “Bright star” reflected all of the major concepts of the Romantic period. John Keats has reflected the values of Romanticism thoroughly in the poem “When I have fears that I may cease to be “. In this poem, Keats reaction against the rational thought is expressed into fulfilment in nature and imagination. John Keats searches for answers to questions in nature about existence, eternal love and death. This is portrayed through the use of personificationpersonification, “When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face, Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance”, where Keats turns to nature giving the night sky a human quality. Keats suggests that the truth about existence can be observed in nature and he wants to live in order to find truth and search and witness these answers for himself. He also symbolises romance in the clouds and the face of the starry night which again reflects the values of Romanticism and the view that the purest translation of life lies within the natural world itself. “High romance” represents the ancient symbol for ultimate questions in life and Keats search for significance and meaning in nature in order to form these answers himself.
Romantic thinkers believed that to imagine and create is to be human and the focus was on them selves within the world. Keats examines himself as an individual like the Romantic thinkers considered themselves to be, rather than apart of the larger community. Keats’s “When I have fears that I may cease to be” represents the major key concepts of Romanticism values through his use of the significant metaphor that is linked with the natural world. “Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain” symbolises the pen as a tool for harvesting and “Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain”, is the product that is finalised from all the hard work on the field. Keats reflects his hard work of poetry to the importance of nature and compares it to harvesting to visualise the method of producing these products. With the importance of nature that has been comprehensively characterised in the poem, Keats poetry has shown to be effectively reflective to the values of Romanticism. John Keats contributed Romanticism in the “Bright Star” by emphasizing the redemptive qualities of a star which purified his inner body and he connected this to expressing his beauty and inspiration of the love he felt towards his fiance. His imagination in this poem is a great example of the poetry during the Romantic Age.
Keats is dissatisfied with mortality and longs for eternal life, “Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art”. Here Keats is revealing his inner thoughts and feelings to the bright star and is comparing his short life to the star’s perminence in life. He also gives the star human qualities through the use of personification, “And watching with eternal lids apart, Like nature’s patient, sleepless eremite”. Keats conveys that the duty of the star is priest-like, watching everyone as an individual as our guardian angel. He also longs for the qualities of the star but without its remoteness. “And so live ever- or else swoon to death”, is an example of Keats longing for eternal love and perminence in life, if he can’t achieve this then he will prefer to die instantly. John Keats has demonstrated effectively with the use of redemptive qualities classifying nature that his poetry reflects the values of Romanticism. The use of various examples have visualised these qualities in a more verifying and pure manner to show inspiration of Keats towards his poetry. He has symbolised Romanticism especially in personifying nature with human qualities to enable his audience to connect with his inner thoughts and feelings. His ideas of nature have generated through his poetry smoothly and most of them represented eternity, love, perminence and death. Keats is an independent poet that has contributed the Romantic period significantly and has obeyed all of the Romantic thoughts and meanings.
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