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Ode on Melancholy

Ode on Melancholy


by John Keats

Ode on Melancholy Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Let's take a little trip back in time. The ode is an ancient Greek form of poetry that is a formal, dignified form generally written in praise of or in defense of a particular person or thing. Keat...


The speaker of the "Ode on Melancholy" is a bit different from the speakers of Keats's other odes. For starters, he urges us to take action rather than to sit back and contemplate something (like t...


The setting of Keats's "Ode on Melancholy" is a bit hard to pin down. Since it's about an emotion or mood, we like to think it takes place in the reader's mind and imagination. Still, we can point...

What's Up With the Title?

The title of "Ode on Melancholy" isn't about to ruffle any feathers or throw us for a loop. It tells us, plain and simple, what the form of the poem is, and what the poem will be about. It's an ode...

Calling Card

For someone who didn't have a fancy-schmancy formal education and was never taught ancient Greek like many of his contemporaries, John Keats sure did love throwing allusions to ancient mythology an...


There's some tough vocabulary and allusions to classical mythology here that could easily trip the unwary, but the basic message and subject matter—melancholy and depression—is something that m...


Early drafts of Keats's "Ode on Melancholy" included an opening stanza that he later deleted. Although we don't have any copies of that first stanza in Keats's own handwriting, two of his frie...

Steaminess Rating

There's so little sex going on in this poem that by the time we get to the final stanza, the image of "Joy's grape" bursting against the reader's "strenuous tongue" seems downright scandalous.


Lethe (1): One of the rivers forming the border of the Underworld in Ancient Greek mythology. The water of the River Lethe was supposed to make you forget all of your earthly troubles.Proserpine (4...

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