John Keats in one of the well known poets of the twentieth century whenever the theme and of ode is mentioned. Notably Keats was able to compose and structure his pieces of art in May 1819 when the poem ‘Ode to a Grecian Urn’ is believed to have been composed (Dean, 1997). Keats was able to effectively bring into unison the close relationship between soul, eternity, nature, and art in his odes. Specifically, this stylistic nature of writing is depicted and brought out clearly in this ode. Keats use his ability to compose the poem to drive the theme of eternity in relation to the pieces of art work like the use of sculptures, the making and use of songs and the human nature to show love and affection.
In the first stanza, the use of arts is largely portrayed by the presence of the ancient urn of the Greece. This is consequently fabricated with various pictures which help to drive further the theme of eternity. Keats outlines a group of men in hot pursuit of women. Because it is not possible to make out where they come from or where they are moving to, the theme of eternity is thus developed. This eternity is thus outlined both in the past and in the future. The art of the urn itself is a self testimony of time tested pieces of art work which is in itself a manifestation of eternity.
The pictures are also portrayed as the part of the human art work which outlines the theme of eternal existence (Couch, 1919). All the pictures which are painted on the surface of the urn are frozen with the passage of long time which they have passed through. The combination of the time beaten pictures on the surface of legendary urn outlines the fact that eternity is well presented and that it is there to remain.
Generally, the persona in the poem outlines a scenario where the urn and its components present the concept of eternity through the combination of art and nature. The presentation of the sculptor of the urn which never dies and which never grow old is a clear indication that the art has been there since unknown time and will still be there for unknown time to come. The lack in the change of shape, form or size gives the impression that things are to remain in the same state exactly as they are presented in the piece of poem thus upholds the theme of eternity (Dean, 1997).
Keats gives the plot of the ode is largely perceived to be set in two major backgrounds. Keats develops the poem in the second stanza by outlining the close association of love and music as the human nature which will never grow old and will thus remain to eternity. Music well played is sweet to the ears to hear and will in most cases sooth the soul. However, Keats points out to the fact that apart from the common sounds heard in music, more is not clearly revealed and it is this component of music that proves to be sweeter as it is not affected by the time differences. Keats specifically mentions to the youth that although he cannot get the chance to kiss the maiden, despair and regret should not be the order of the day as the beauty of the maiden would never fade away.
This is a clear indication of the theme of eternity in this particular ode. By depicting two lovers lying below a tree and playing the sweet piped music, Keats brings out and draws the close relationship between the human nature to show affection and love to one another. The similarity between the music played and the love made by the two people is that the lovers are not able to consummate their love just like the unheard sweet sound of music. This portrays the fact that the physical material and aspects which the people always see though may be held with high esteem and considered very important, the real aspects of human nature and art are really immortal and are not affected by time. What Keats clearly clarifies is that time differences may weather out the elementary human nature and art, the reality is that human nature is likely to remain and the art of man has more eternal values.
Similarly, Keats pushes forward the theme of eternity in the third stanza of the poem. The presentation of the evergreen tree which never shades its leaves points out to the fact that life is to continues to eternity. Possibly, what Keats drives home in this stanza is that with lack of the death of the tree, through the drying of the leaves, it is likely to remain to eternity, and that it began from eternity. It is therefore possible to conclude that the tree will continue to provide a good shade for the two lovers who play their piped music below it. The compounding effect is the fact that eternity is developed by the lovers who are never worried of one day losing their comfort of the shade and live even during winter.
In the second part of the plot, Keats shifts the setting to that of the villagers making sacrifices using a heifer. The picture portrayed in the fourth stanza is of a priest with his group leading a heifer for a sacrifice. The thirty first lines give the most important question in the stanza. Notably, it is not known where the group is coming from, neither is it known where they are going to. The frozen picture on the side of the urn thus is very important in showing that even the cultural values and beliefs which people uphold are also a manifestation of eternity. The fact that the group is moving and the possibility of their return is not known gives the true picture that it will take eternity for this group to make it back to where they came from.
The last stanza is the most important in the development of the theme of eternity. The persona in the poem gives the advice which summarizes the poem. The persona indicates that all that the reader or the actor needs to know is that beauty is truth and truth is also beauty. Specifically, it is hard to identify the direction of communication in this particular line with the very important message. It can be said that the poet was either speaking to the reader, or it was the urn itself speaking to the reader. In some other circumstances, it is possible to conclude that the poet was either speaking to the urn or to the figures painted on the urn itself. Amazingly, in whichever direction taken, the fact remains that in eternity, truth will always be the beauty of life, and eternal life will also be the beauty of the truth. This is a complex way of finalizing the theme of eternity in the poem.