Critical Analysis of Ode to Autumn | Ode to Autumn by John Keats


Critical Analysis of Ode to Autumn | Ode to Autumn by John Keats.

The poem "Ode to Autumn" was written by John Keats in September 1819 - which has been deemed as his  'great creative year' bearing all his fine works including the great odes and our present ode is no exception to it.

Introduction to Ode to Autumn.

His Sunday walks during the Autumn season serves as his source for the odes. He was greatly obstruct by the beauty of the season. It impressed him so much that he recorded his mood in the form of this Ode.

Here the treatment of the subject is perfectly impersonal or objective. Human sentiments are not expressed here, the poet only describes certain sights and sounds, without expressing his personal reactions to them. Thus, the poem gives us a vivid description of the beauty and bounty of the Autumn season.

Critical Analysis and summary of Ode to Autumn.

The poet opens his poem describing the beauty of the Autumn season with a vivid description of the charmness of the season. This description of the beauty has been nicely reflected in the first lines of the poem-
 "Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness"

As quoted by the poet, the weather is "chast" and there is a temperate sharpness about it. He then goes on depicting the various activity of the autumn season that cooperates with the sun in bringing about the maturity of the fruits as depicted in

"Close bosom friend of the maturing Sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless"
This stanza describes a scenario of ripping fruits, loaded grape vines, the loaded apple trees, the big gourd and the hazelnuts with sweet karnel. There are also certain flowers that blooms in autumn, attracting the bees to suck their sweetness. Thus, there is a continuation of summer as reflected in the lines-

"Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells".
There is also personification in the second stanza of the poem.  Autumn is here seen as a woman who performs the task of reaping,  gleaning,  winnowing and cider -pressing. 

Here the poet depicted the activities of the Autumn season in the character of a winnower,  reaper,  gleaner and a cider presser.  This beautiful characterisation in the landscape of a field with ripping corn,  poppy flowers,  stream and a woman with ripe apples enhances the beauty of the Autumn season. 

The third stanza is all about the "music" of Autumn.  Speaking highly of the music of Autumn,  Keats mention the stubble plains,  the mourn of gnats, the chriting of the grasshopper,  the twittering of the swallows and whistling of the red breast from the garden.  All these are the music of the Autumn season.  

Although the sweet song of the spring season are absent in Autumn, but it has its own peculiar music that has its own beauty.

This poem is a perfect nature lyric. Thus, the poem is remarkable for it's brilliant depiction of the full grown beauty of the Autumn season under strict economy of words and expressions.

Structure of Ode to Autumn.

As regards the structure of the poem, Keats had adopted the rhyme scheme of ABABCDEDCCE in each stanza. "Ode to Autumn" is also remarkable for the choice of words and phrases which fit in nicely with the Idea and expression of the poem. There is also a nice melody in the use of words in a balanced form.

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