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On The Sea Analysis



Author: Poetry of John Keats Type: Poetry Views: 1452

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It keeps eternal whisperings around

Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell

Gluts twice ten thousand caverns, till the spell

Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.

Often 'tis in such gentle temper found,

That scarcely will the very smallest shell

Be moved for days from whence it sometime fell,

When last the winds of heaven were unbound.

Oh ye! who have your eye-balls vexed and tired,

Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;

Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with uproar rude,

Or fed too much with cloying melody,-Sit ye near some old cavern's mouth, and brood

Until ye start, as if the sea-nymphs choired!






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

thanks for that analysis it helped me alot with my project at school

| Posted on 2012-02-26 | by a guest


.: :.

In Keats’ ‘On the Sea’ we see the transcendence of the sea into a majestical, sacred force. It is not a human ruled asset for our exploitation, leisure or travel; it is God-like power that shows our minute nature against its sublime nature. From this sublime nature, it becomes a God-given source of rest and restoration. The human suffering of the senses is expressed in the lines: ‘who have your eyeballs vexed and tired… who ears are dinned with uproar rude… or fed too much with cloying melody’, but it is through the sea that we gain back our senses. By personifying the organs, an emotional resonance is then created in the audience to feel the presence of their suffering. However, Keats exclaims, ‘Oh ye!’ emphasising his advisory nature and eagerness to his revelation: ‘feast them upon the wideness of the sea’. The metaphorical description of the sea being something to feast on highlights it’s nourishing essence to the body, a vast wide banquet for one to feed on as a source for rest, peace and resolution from the blocked senses.
Furthermore, the polarity of the nature of sea is described: ‘Often tis in such a gentle temper found… when at last the winds of Heaven were unbound’. The oxymoron of gentle and temper emphasises it’s dual nature while the association of the Heavens emphasises both the god-power of the sea, but also the Romantic connection that nature was god – all powerful, awe inspiring and truly untameable.
Though the imagination, nature is revealed to be restorative and nourishing, not a mundane part of the environment that we use for our wellbeing, that can be restricted or understood by technology and logic. The creation of the everyday into the exotic has therefore given birth to a pantheistic appreciation of the environment through the imaginative exaltation of nature, as Wordsworth believed, Nature is a nurturer and restorer, a force whose restorative qualities could sooth the battered spirit and provide refuge.

| Posted on 2011-08-10 | by a guest


.: :.

In Keats’ ‘On the Sea’ we see the transcendence of the sea into a majestical, sacred force. It is not a human ruled asset for our exploitation, leisure or travel; it is God-like power that shows our minute nature against its sublime nature. From this sublime nature, it becomes a God-given source of rest and restoration. The human suffering of the senses is expressed in the lines: ‘who have your eyeballs vexed and tired… who ears are dinned with uproar rude… or fed too much with cloying melody’, but it is through the sea that we gain back our senses. By personifying the organs, an emotional resonance is then created in the audience to feel the presence of their suffering. However, Keats exclaims, ‘Oh ye!’ emphasising his advisory nature and eagerness to his revelation: ‘feast them upon the wideness of the sea’. The metaphorical description of the sea being something to feast on highlights it’s nourishing essence to the body, a vast wide banquet for one to feed on as a source for rest, peace and resolution from the blocked senses.
Furthermore, the polarity of the nature of sea is described: ‘Often tis in such a gentle temper found… when at last the winds of Heaven were unbound’. The oxymoron of gentle and temper emphasises it’s dual nature while the association of the Heavens emphasises both the god-power of the sea, but also the Romantic connection that nature was god – all powerful, awe inspiring and truly untameable.
Though the imagination, nature is revealed to be restorative and nourishing, not a mundane part of the environment that we use for our wellbeing, that can be restricted or understood by technology and logic. The creation of the everyday into the exotic has therefore given birth to a pantheistic appreciation of the environment through the imaginative exaltation of nature, as Wordsworth believed, Nature is a nurturer and restorer, a force whose restorative qualities could sooth the battered spirit and provide refuge.

| Posted on 2011-08-10 | by a guest


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I wonder if the sea is such a magnet as that is where life started? Jan

| Posted on 2011-07-06 | by a guest


.: :.

hey,.thanks ya....great analysis...really gonna help me....for an assignment we have gotta do on keats.
moumita, grade 12.

| Posted on 2010-06-23 | by a guest


.: :.

In the poem, Keats uses the sea as a metaphor for human life. This is illustrated through Keats' use of personification in line 5, and capitalization in line 10.
The personification is used to describe the tranquility of the sea, but it also serves as hint to the poems greater meaning. The personification literally causes the reader to think of the sea as a person, which is exactly what Keats intended.
This is reinforced by Keats' use of capitalization in line 10. He capitalizes the word "Sea" as if he were referring to the name of a person, not an inanimate object. This metaphor allows Keats to comment on the nature of human life through his description of the sea.
In the opening 8 lines of the poem Keats addresses the nature of the sea, and through the metaphor, the nature of human life, through imagery. He creates two contrasting images for us in the first 8 lines.
The first image, lines 1-3, he describes the ocean as a powerful and violent entity, one that has enough volume to fill an unimaginable space of "ten thousand Caverns."
Then in lines 3 and 4, “till the spell Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound,” he begins to describe a change in the sea’s nature. Hecate, another word capitalized within the poem as if a name, is in fact that, a name. Hecate is the goddess of the moon, so the spell of Hecate would appear to be night, which allows the line “till the spell of Hecate leaves” to be interpreted as the transition from a very violent and rough night, to daytime. The second part of the line, “leaves them their old shadowy sound” means that as night makes way to day, it leaves behind a calm and gentle ocean, as described in the next 4 lines.
In the second image, lines 5-8, Keats illustrates the tranquil nature of the sea. These lines evoke an image of waves gently rolling onto the shore and over a peaceful shell half buried in the sand.
These images, through the metaphor, show the contrasting nature of human life. Life can be "Desolate" or violent and overwhelming like Keats description of the raging ocean, but It can also be peaceful and pleasant like the gentle waves rolling over the shell in the second image.
Looking at the complete picture however, including the transition between night and day, or dark and light, in lines 3 and 4, we can interpret the first 8 lines as showing the progress of human life from the barbaric and violent beings of the dark ages, to the tranquil, peaceful society of today. This is seen in the metaphor of the sea, or human nature, going through the transition of a violent uncontrollable night, or dark ages, to the tranquil ocean of the new day ahead, or the present.
In the final six lines of the poem, Keats calls those who are exhausted with life, and who do not believe things can get any better, to spend time watching the sea. The line refers to someone who is "vexed and tired" with their life. The din or constant clamor of life has worn him/her down.
The poem suggests that this person "brood" or ponder over the sea until "ye start, as if the sea-nymphs choired", or until he/she suddenly becomes energized. Keats is saying that no matter how bad things are, life is unpredictable, and can change for the better in an instant, as he described with the metaphor in the earlier eight lines. Keats is addressing every human being who has become exhausted with life and telling them to look to the sea, or to the contrasting nature of human life for hope and the will to move on. He is suggesting that the volatile nature of our own lives can change as quickly as the sea.

| Posted on 2009-06-08 | by a guest


.: :.

I like that analysis, very clear and convinving. I like the idea that the sea is an entity, one of human life. The contrasting nature as you said, could be seen as personalities, if you will, of the sea. Just thinkin
ScP

| Posted on 2009-03-13 | by a guest


.: :.

This is a great analysis! Thanks! I'm writing a stupid paper about Keats and his stupid poems and this was really helpful!
-Jenny, 8th grade student who wants to throw her English teacher out the window for making us do this project

| Posted on 2009-03-09 | by a guest


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This is about the sea. i think.i dont know actually

| Posted on 2009-02-23 | by a guest


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Thankyou so much for your analysis, it was very helpful and made me understand the poem so much more. Thankyou again!

| Posted on 2009-02-01 | by a guest


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The given piece of writing is an in depth description that is extremely helpful for understanding the the full literal meaning of the poem. It even highlights some of the techniques the author has incorporated into the poetry. In spite of these accomplishments, it does not view the poem through a an analytical lens. Here is my own attempt to actually analyze Keats' sonnet:

In the sonnet “On the Sea” John Keats, a 19th century romantic poet, describes the mercurial nature of the sea in an exalted manner. Keats uses personification, visual imagery and apostrophe to suggest that the contrasting nature of life can rejuvenate the human spirit.
In the poem, Keats uses the sea as a metaphor for human life. This is illustrated through Keats' use of personification in line 5 and his use of capitalization in line 10. The personification is used to set up a description of the sea's tranquility. However, it also serves as hint to the poems greater meaning. The personification literally causes the reader to think of the sea as a person. This is exactly what Keats intended. This is reinforced by Keats' stylistic use of capitalization in line 10. He capitalizes the word "Sea" as if he were referring to a proper name. This extended metaphor is the basis for Keats' commentary on human life.
In the opening octet of the poem Keats addresses the nature of the sea, and thus the nature of human life, using visual imagery. He crafts two contrasting depictions of the ocean. The first image, lines 1-4, he describes the ocean as a powerful and violent entity, one that has enough volume to fill an unimaginable space of "ten thousand Caverns." In the second image, lines 5-8, Keats illustrates the tranquil nature of the sea. These lines evoke an image of waves gently rolling onto the shore and over a peaceful shell half buried in the sand. These images are a testament to the contrasting nature of human life. Life can be "Desolate" violent and overwhelming like Keats description of the raging ocean. It can also be peaceful and pleasant like the gentle waves of the second image.
In the final sextet of the poem, Keats calls those "whose ears are dinn'd with uproar rude" to spend time observing the sea. This use of apostrophe, "a sudden turn from the general audience to address a specific group or person or personified abstraction absent or present" as defined by the University of Kentucky Department of Modern & Classical Languages, Literatures, & Cultures Website x acts as a medium for Keats' commentary on life's fickle nature. The apostrophe refers to someone who is "vex'd and tir'd" with their life. The din or constant clamor of life has worn him/her down. The poem suggests that this person "brood" or ponder over the sea until "ye start, as if the sea-nymphs quir'd", or until he/she suddenly becomes energized. The absent subject of this apostrophe is a symbol for all humans. Keats is addressing every human being who has become exhausted with life and telling them to look to the sea, or to the contrasting nature of human life for inspiration and rejuvenation. He is suggesting that the volatile nature of our own lives is a source of individual inspiration that is as immense and eternal as the ocean.
Well, there is my attempt at analysis. Please let me know what you think.
-Random English Student, Grade 11

| Posted on 2008-11-26 | by a guest


.: :.

I find this analysis difficult to read - the grammar and typo errors are quite disconcerting. Also, this analysis does not delve into the various themes of Keats's romantic poetry, including transience and the conflicted nature of life that are expressed through metaphor in this sonnet. This analysis is fairly simple and only analyses language very bascially, not looking beyond the literal meaning to the deeper metaphorical meaning and thematic concerns.
So thanks... but no thanks. I found this source very unhelpful, it sounds as if it were written by someone with poor english writing skills and a very limited understanding of poetry.
Alison, year 12 student

| Posted on 2008-10-28 | by a guest


.: :.

Fantastic Analysis! I don't mind the reference to Sir John Keats and if the definitions worried you, maybe you could have included the correct ones. Otherwise, very helpful! Thank you!

| Posted on 2008-09-29 | by a guest


.: Reply to On the Sea :.

This is one of my favourite Keats poem, and the author of the article has evidently also been touched by this poem, but I can't help but be a bit ticked off by a few thing in it. Firstly, I can't remember John Keats ever being given a knighthood, so why is he constantly reffered to as 'Sir'. Secondly, I am pretty sure the author of the article is not English as a few of the definitions goven for words are incorrect.

| Posted on 2008-03-04 | by a guest


.: analysis :.

On the sea
By john Keats


This sonnet is published in 17 April 1817
In this sonnet ‘On the Sea’, sir john Keats had expressed his thoughts and pictured the sea in more detailed manner by presenting the mightiness of the sea. The content of the poem is comprehensive image of the sea and structure is linked with ones psychological sanity with the sea’s melody and magnificence, how immense, powerful and peaceful is the sea demonstrated very beautifully in the rhythm, rhyme of the poem.

As a Petrarchan or Italian sonnet, “On The Sea” falls into two parts--an octet (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). The octet describes, the melodies of the waves, massiveness, wideness and beauty of the sea. In the sestet, the sonnet relates ones sense and feelings effected by the sea, how soothing the sea is and the way it effects one’s emotions.
The Octet (lines 1-8)
“It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores”
This phrase “eternal whispering around desolate shores” describes generally the sounds of the waves hitting the shores. “Eternal” shows an everlasting existence, without an end or beginning. “Whispering” in addition, indicates voices or talking very softly, using only breath but not the voice, it also shows that the waves are speaking in whispers, not wanting anyone to hear them.” Desolate” presents an image of an inhabitant and unpleasantly empty places as well it presents a person loneliness and extreme sadness. “Shores” presents a land along the edge of the sea.
Sir john Keats has use this phrase to create an imagery of silent whispering waves touching so many desolated shores.

“And with its mighty swell gluts
Twice ten thousand caverns”
The phrase generally gives us, sir Keats suggestion of the huge span of the sea.
“Mighty swell” this phrase tells us about the powerful heaving of the sea with unbreaking waves that can “Glut” (to indulge to the full) twice ten thousand caverns (big caves or huge round stones).

“Till the spell of hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound”
Sir Keats describes, after the high tides caused by the moon, which causes disturbance and violence in the sea, it returns to its pleasant calm and peaceful state.
“Hecate” is said to be the goddess of moon, as the line starts “till the spell of hecate leaves” it presents the calming down of the sea to the peaceful state after the high tides are over and “shadowy sounds” indicates the vague sounds of the waves

“Often ‘tis in such gentle temper found
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
Be moved for days from whence it sometime fell,
When last the winds of heaven were unbound”
These last phrases of the octet of the sonnet, sir Keats describe the intensity of calmness in the sea by use of such phrases, “Gentle temper” (temper- state of mind or power) to show the steadiness of the sea not only on the surface but through out sea and gives an example of the smallest of the tiniest shell “scarcely will be very smallest shell” will be moved, “When last the winds of heaven were unbound” in addition to the previous phrase explains the movement of shell when the winds of heaven are unbound, its deeper idea of the rareness of the movement in the sea.
The Sestet (lines 9-14)
“O ye who have your eyeballs vext and tir’d,
Feast them upon the wideness of the sea”
“O ye” moves the poem to a new idea or holds attention. “Vext and tir’d” shows the extensity of ones tiredness and anger, irritated or troubled by the society as in ones social life or personal, who have seen a lot of worries, tension or as well happiness and got tired of it. “Feast” tells to feed the sensual ness of the sea to the vext eyes.
In this phrase, Sir Keats Expresses Sea’s sensual ness creates such an effect on feelings and refreshes one’s soul.

“O ye whose ears are dinned with uproar rude
Or fed too much with cloying melody
Sit ye near some old cavern’s mouth and brood
Until ye start as if the sea nymphs quired.”
These phrases, “dinned” mean tired and “uproar rude” express unpleasant noises or anger, “cloying melody” gives as an idea of satiate, sicken or over sweet melody,
Here sir Keats uses melody instead of sound or noises to show pleasant ness.
“Brood” literary, means to sit on eggs to hatch them. [Old English], but in the sonnet sir Keats uses it to present, ponder ness or to sit restlessly in a different manner (feeling).
“ Sea nymphs” presents a mythological semi-divine spirit regarded as a maiden and associated with an aspect of nature.
Sir Keats used these phrases, which tells a person who is tired of hearing harshness of the society or his feeling have been hurt by the words or cloy happiness, should come near to cavern’s near the sea and brood till he feels very relaxed and fells in the magic of wave’s sound like sea nymphs are entertaining that person.
Generally sir Keats conveys that the sea affects the moods and feelings of it admirers, as it is feeding on their sadness or happiness and giving them a soothing experience.



As a conclusion sir Keats have expressed his experience on the sea and wrote this sonnet dedicated to sea.


| Posted on 2006-07-16 | by Approved Guest




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