Ode to a Nightingale

Brian Finnerty


“Ode to a Nightingale”



Before reading  Keat’s poem, “Ode to a Nightingale”, I looked up what the meaning


of Nightingale meant. Nightingale is a “small European thrush with brownish plumage. A


nightingale is a bird. In the poem the speaker hears of this nightingale singing in a forest.


From reading the poem I believe the main theme is life and death and how death will


eventually come one day for all of us. I picked up on the distinct relationship between the


nightingale and the speaker in the poem. Throughout the entire poem the speaker listens


to the nightingale sing away into the night. One hotspot that I find in the poem in the line,


“That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, And with thee fade away into the forest


dim”. I believe this line is backing up my statement made about the main theme which


happens to be about life and death and being afraid to die. From reading the poem I came


to the conclusion that the nightingale is dying and it is perfectly content with it. On the


other hand the speaker can not realize this and does not want to face that death will creep


up on us at one point for everyone. He turns to drinking to face his problems in the forest.


At the end of the poem we as readers detect that the speaker now does not know if he is


dreaming or not. “Was it a vision or a walking dream”. I believe Keat is showing the


readers that some can face the realization that death is coming and some can not. I agree


with his main point and believe that everyone faces their fears a different way.


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