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Study Questions

Ode on Melancholy Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
  1. Why is it a good thing to feel melancholy, according to this poem? Why shouldn't we try to cheer ourselves up?
  2. What's up with all the metaphors of tasting, eating, and feeding? What are ideas are they helping Keats illustrate?
  3. Check out the original first stanza of the poem reproduced here. Why do you think Keats deleted it? How would it change your reading of the poem if it were included in the final version?
  4. Why does the poet keep bringing up ancient mythology? What do all the myths that he alludes to have in common?
  5. Do you agree with the idea that melancholy, or sorrow, is always linked to joy and pleasure, and that you can't feel true joy without having experienced the opposite extreme? Explain.
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