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Ode on a Grecian Urn

Ode on a Grecian Urn


by John Keats

The First Scene: Men and Maidens

Symbol Analysis

Of all the scenes on the pot, the speaker gets most jazzed about this one. And we can’t really blame him. It looks like a wild party with attractive young people. He contrasts the perpetual excitement of the men and maidens with the experience of unfulfilled desire.

  • Lines 5-10: The speaker uses a series of rhetorical questions as a he tries to explain what’s happening on the urn. These questions produce anaphora, where each sentence clause begins with the same word, "What."
  • Line 17: Another example of apostrophe. This time, the speaker addresses the "Bold Lover" who is chasing the women.
  • Lines 29-30: The speaker uses metonymy to link his "heart" to his feelings of being "high-sorrowful and cloy’d." Then he uses two examples of synecdoche to explain the downside of love. A "burning forehead" stands for a fever, and the "parching tongue" stands for thirst.

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