“Ode on a Grecian Urn” Reflection
The concept of the poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, written by John Keats, is one of absolute brilliance. Keats demonstrates the idea that “beauty is truth and truth beauty.” He uses the image of a Grecian urn to portray this idea. The urn is not beautiful simply because it is a work of art. The urn is beautiful because the artist was able to freeze a moment in time by painting that moment onto the urn. Keats brings this concept to light when he says “She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, / Forever wilt though love and she be fair!” The images on the urn are unchangeable. The viewer of the urn will only see a perfect depiction of what happened in that specific moment; never the moment after, nor before. This permanence is what makes the urn so beautiful.
It is interesting that Keats refers to the urn as a “foster child of silence and slow time.” It is almost as if Keats is personifying “silence” and “time” in order to prove that the urn is completely unchangeable. The reader can relate to the way that time and silence wear away at a person. The urn has defied both of these forces and has maintained its flawless beauty.
“Silence” and “time” can be viewed, not only as external forces, but also as internal forces. As mentioned previously, the images painted onto the urn are a snapshot of time. The moment depicted will forever remain the same. The silence is referring to the everlasting silence of the people in the painting. Keats describes this when he says “And, little town, thy streets forevermore / Will silent be; and not a soul to tell.” Overall, the poem successfully portrayed John Keats’ solitary truth about beauty. Keats’ firm believe that truth is what makes something beautiful is what, in an almost ironic way, makes “Ode on a Grecian Urn” ring true to the reader, which is beautiful in itself.