Dreams are ultimately futile (John Keats)

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"Dreams are ultimately futile when faced with the realities of the world"
To what extent is this statement true of your chosen texts?
In ode to a Nightingale Keats seems to be suggesting that dreams created by your imagination
are ultimately futile when you are faced with the realities of the world. Initially the speaker of
the poem dwells on the harsh reality of life and death. "Aches", "numbness" and "hemlock",
the first stanza is filled with the semanticfield of death. The poet does this to reinforce the
speaker's attitude and feelings towards life. However when the speaker sees a nightingale
singing a "melodious plot" he is reminded of the "singst of summer". In the second stanza
Keats again reinforces the speakers wish to escape reality and to "fade away" into nature.
This disillusionment to reality is further emphasized in the third stanza where Keats suggests
that in life we encounter "weariness", "fret" and "fever" and youth grows pale and beauty
loses her "lustrous eyes". The foreshadowing of death is evident throughout the poem,
"lethe", "darkness" and "flies". There is an underlying belief that "peaceful" death would help
the speaker escape from reality and into the loving arms of death. In the Fourth stanza,
however, Keats suggests that dreams are a powerful tool used to escape realism. The speaker
in the poem uses his power of imagination to "fly" away with the nightingale. Through the
flight of imagination and the "viewless wings of poesy" he can escape into the sensory world
of the nightingale. However by the end of the poem the speaker realises that dreams and
imagination are just illusions. The leaving of the nightingale as it flies away tolls the speaker to
their "sole self". Keats suggests that dreams are transience much like time, they are wisps of
your imagination and in the end it shatters and you bump back into reality. The speaker is then
left wondering whether it is a "vision" or a "waking sleep". Keats proposes that dreams are
ultimately futile when faced with the realities of the world.


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