Love, Ambition, And Poesy In Poem “Ode To Indolence” Analysis Writing Sample

The poem “Ode to Indolence” is a short poem about three figures who appear to a poet. The poet is confused on why they appear to him and ask who they are and what they are doing. Later in the poem, the narrator realizes they are not simply three figures they are one man and two women. They are also the narrators three temptations: love, ambition and poesy. In the poem “Ode to Indolence” by John Keats, he uses diction, symbolism, and tone to explain how these three figures try to tempt him.

One literary device Keats uses is diction. Keats describes these figures as “Shadows,” “ghosts,” and “phantoms” providing negative connotations to these words and who the figures are. The poet envisions a man and two women claiming that these three figures are “in placid sandals, and in white robes graced” (Keats 4). He uses these words to explain that the images or people before him remind him of Grecians. Keats repeatedly uses the word “urn” in his poem to describe how the figures move. One example is “pass’d, like figures on a marble urn” (Keats 5). In the Greek culture, heroes or figures were sculpted or painted on to vases and urns to show significance . This vase or urn is what the poet is imaging when he sees the ghosts turning. Keats uses this in his poem to depict three temptations or figures.

The first was a fair maid, and Love her name;

The second was Ambition, pale of cheek

And ever watchful with fatigued eye;

The last, whom I love more, the more of blame

Is heap’d upon her, maiden most unmeek, –

I knew to be my demon Poesy. (Keats 25 – 30)

Here, Keats recognizes the figures as love, ambition, and poesy. Though all three are temptations, Poesy is the most intimidating (Zak 60). “The first two, appeal to the flesh and the temptation of worldly power and dominion who pose no insidious challenge to the narrator’s composure” (Zak 60). Keats later explains that Poesy is the real threat. Poesy means devil and hovering spirit (Greenblatt 498). He uses words like “not a joy” and “demon” to provide an understanding that Poesy is who the poet is most concerned about (Keats 30, 35). This overwhelming figure comes to haunt him and make the poet “prove his identity” (Zak 61).

A second literary device used by Keats is symbolism. Keats uses three words to describe the narrators three temptations; love, ambition, and poesy. The narrator or poet is disturbed by these three figures saying “What is Love? And where is it? / And for that poor Ambition – it springs / From a man’s little heart’s short fever-fit; / For Poesy! – no – she has not a joy,” (Keats 32 – 35). The poet realizes these figures are tempting him. While the poet is laying in the grass thinking about these three figures, he recognizes that they came to “disrupt the idleness being maintained” (Stillinger 257). “To steal away, and leave without a task / My idle days?” (Keats 14,15). Here the poet is questioning why they are present. The three figures symbolize exactly what their names mean. However, if their goal was to ruin his idleness, the ghosts are doing the opposite. Instead of interrupting his peace like they came to do, they are contributing to it (Stillinger 257). They are not tempting him at all. The narrator Knowns these three temptations are faulty and unfulfilling. Love does not last forever, ambition is short lived, and poesy has nothing to offer.

Lastly, the narrator uses tone to enhance the poem. In the beginning of the poem, the tone is that of a disturbed man. All the narrator wants is “evenings steep’d in honied indolence” (Keats 37). These figures came to interrupt him; however, he will not be tempted. Towards the end of the poem we see the man stand up for himself and the tone is almost triumphant. “So, ye three ghosts, adieu!” (Keats 51). The poet denies them the right to distract him any longer and sends them away saying “Vanish, ye phantoms, from my idle spright, / Into the clouds, and never more return!” (Keats 59, 60). The narrator realizes they will never bring him happiness and sends them away to enjoy the rest of his day in indolence.

In conclusion, Keats uses diction, symbolism, and tone to explain temptation the narrator is facing. Love, ambition, and poesy are three things the poet desires. Throughout the poem we see how all three temptations work together to overwhelm the poet. However, the poet realizes all three figures have nothing to offer him and he is better off just staying where he is. The two temptations Love and Ambition were easy for the narrator to discard making Poesy the most difficult to get out of the poets head. In the end it is easy to understand that the poet overpowered his desires creating a tone of success (Zak 64).

The Two Faces Of Ambition

Since ancient times in history it has been seen that all human beings are in a constant struggle to move forward no matter what happens, in order to continue progressing and expanding. When talking about ambition and greed it has, or can be seen, from two points of view and two different perspectives. One negative and the other positive.

From the positive side, it can be said that ambition is the desire to overcome and go much further. It provides the motivation and determination necessary to achieve goals in life. It focuses more on the development and personal growth that refers to a series of activities that help to improve self-awareness and discover one’s identity, in order to promote the development of one’s own potentials, personal and relational skills.

The objective is to improve the quality of life and contribute to the realization of individual dreams and aspirations. Unfortunately, not all people take the proper path and can find themselves in a situation where they feel far from their own essence and live distanced from their dreams, aspirations and needs. However, seeing it from the other point of view, the ambition becomes negative when it is present in the monetary issue, so the mere fact of having an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth and power.

In one hand, the life of Indians was beyond selfishness and well-being.The integral communication between the visible and non-visible world was considered a sacred path for them. One of the types of communication was through dreams. Their sacred principle was to have a happy life and to be able to face their circumstances wisely with simple and coherent solutions. Not doing something that could harm their descendants either physically and spiritually nor the environment in which they lived. Unlike Americans who lived in a more competitive capitalist society, Indians lived in a more united and shared community.

One example of personal growth is in the story called “Superman and Me.” Sherman Alexie lived with his family in the reservation while growing up. Alexie states how he was not able to read his father’s books and encouraged him to strive more and determine the purpose of a paragraph. Alexie emphasizes that reading and writing has saved his life, because Indian children were expected to be bad and stupid; Alexie said, ‘I refused to fail. I was smart. I was arrogant. I was lucky’ (27). His courage and ambition to be better improved how he refused to give up on something he loved to do, and that was reading books. When Alexie grew up and became a writer, he wanted to teach creative ways to write in Indian schools to help children who were in the same condition as him and share the success that led him to stand out from the other kids.

On the other hand, the European wanted to conquer and take control over the natural resources and territories of the Indians for political and economic reasons. For example, in the movie called “Little Big Man” the ambition of the Americans made them see the opportunities to grow goods to exporting them to other countries and generate as much income as possible.

After the conquerors arrived, the land became a crucial topic of exchange during trade negotiations between Europeans and Native Americans. Straightaway, the misunderstandings led to arguments and fights over the land. The primary reason was that the two groups had different ideas and perspectives of the land and ownership. Native Americans did not consider land as something either with monetary value nor something they could own, buy or sell. The Indians venerated the earth as a sacred gift that was supposed to be shared among the people who lived in it.

The colonizers expected the innate leaders and governors to lead the cities as the settlements of Europe, with annual meetings of the city, government laws, and elected officials. But the plan failed, the life of the conquerors was incompatible with the economy and life of the Native American ; living under the law of the colonizers was not practical for the native tribes. European legislation was much more complicated and complex.

Also, it was believed that the solution of the ‘Indian issue’ was to lock them up in concentration camps called reservations, for that they were assigned in uninhabitable drylands for the target; but they were also stripped of them, and millions of buffaloes were killed. The conquerors tried to keep the Indians in reservations, because for them they were just a group of primitive and savage people that were only obstacles to achieve their goals.

A few loose words, related exclusively by association of ideas, can be constituted in a synthesis of European conquest and colonialism in America: inquisition, genocide, exploitation, looting, transculturation and disappearance. Many indigenous communities that lived in their own domains suffered invasions and land spoils; they had to submit to the current legislation of the established order; they had to renounce their cultures according to education; they were deprived of the economic resources and the freedom of the vital space and limited by national borders that divided their communities. This aggressive policy, denying the total autonomy of indigenous peoples, continues until today.

In her book “Colonial America Reference Library: Almanac,” Peggy Saari declared that “As a consequence [of European devastation], great stresses were placed on the economic, social, political, and religious systems of Native Americans”(26). These negative processes were the essence of unofficial history described from the point of view of the Indian people. Although, the testimonies of those historical periods showed that the systematic destruction of the local culture and its replacement by the cultural guidelines imposed from the nation was a primordial task that justified the use of any means to take it to cape.

Throughout this class I have read and learned about the Indians and their generations of the last 150 years portrayed in different ways and periods of time. Emphasized precisely in the relationship and behavior between Indians and whites.

Both the whites and the Indians had their own purposes and ideals that might not agree with those of the other, but the truth is that Indians had a moral principle based on altruism and integrity. The whites, unlike the Indians, were more focused on acquiring power. Ignored the existing cultural framework in those tribes and the existing social hierarchies in them, in order to impose their own values and have authority over the Indians.

From the Indians I learned values ​​such as loyalty and commitment to their traditions, routines, and lifestyles. Despite the modern and industrialized world that was developing around them, they only wanted justice and peace. The great wisdom of the Indians by respecting: the men, women, children, and nature, maintained their lives in harmony. These primitive Americans have possessed great riches in human and spiritual resources. Lamentably, all this has been consciously and actively destroyed by a civilization that is unbalanced, precisely because it has lost those values ​​for which the Indian lived.

In this change suffered by the Europeans, the massacres and the diseases that harmed the population, as well as the religious beliefs that led them to a peaceful and resigned life, had great relevance. The conqueror, by expanding his true and absolute religion through America, together with his feudal and enslaving systems, driven by the demoralized greed of which the invasion of America is impregnated, produced a transmutation in the Indian, whose result is an inferior human being.

Native Americans today are seen as distinct societies because of their minority status, as separate entities of social opportunities. The result of the western construction of the state from the time of conquest to date, they are also seen as societies that due to the economic and political backwardness fail to fit into many of the structures of the states.

The development of native peoples must be visualized in a local context. It is urgent to recognize the advances of Native Americans coincide in the valuation of the ancestral and effective methods of indigenous organizations. I think the best solution for this circumstances is essentially related with the law. The laws are fundamental, so that the members of the native tribes do not have the policy or legally the prohibition or the obstacle to resort to any federal matter for the solution of controversies. It is also important to recognize the avoidance of the law in the past; The first amendment did not protect the Native American religions, and the fifth amendment did not protect their land.

America took 99 percent of territory that the Indians owned for centuries; the least we could do as country is to do them the favor of protecting their 1 percent that remains.

The Dangers Of Ambition In “Macbeth”

Macbeth is a story with very universal themes, even to this day it presents themes that we can see and recognize in our everyday lives. In this essay, we will analyze the modern values / universal themes in the character Macbeth and how literature reflects society, culture, place, and / or history.

Macbeth is a story of ambition and that is a subject Shakespeare utilizes the main character’s thought processes to pass on and furthermore demonstrate the threats of being too ambitious. A case of this is when Macbeth says “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man That function is smother’d in surmise, and nothing is but what is not.” (Macbeth, P.331). This story conveys a vital message as it teaches the reader to practice restraint with regards to their secret desires and to know about the results that those desires could hold. Macbeth, amid the time the play was composed, would have been viewed as a villain , in any case, readers can see that Macbeth was just human and really wanted to stand amazed at what could be as opposed to tolerating his new title of Thane of Cawdor. “Macbeth reduces all that has been exciting him in the contemplation of the death of Duncan to ‘only vaulting ambition’, the mere desire to be King. This would seem to justify the claim that Macbeth has not a predisposition to murder; he has merely an inordinate ambition that makes murder itself seem to be a lesser evil than failure to achieve the crown.” (Foakes, 2013, P.9)

Now we will discuss how literature reflects society, culture, place, and / or history.

The relationship of literature and society has been variously conceived. Three general assumptions are that literature reflects society and culture, that it serves as a means of social control, and that it influences attitudes and behavior of people in ways considered in some respects desirable in others undesirable. (Albrecht, 1956, p. 722) This literature reflects modern society as it is human nature to give into temptation when pushed just far enough.

In this essay we firstly analyzed the theme and value of ambition in the character Macbeth. We learned a vital lesson about how to practice self control with regards to our secret desires and to be cautious about the results that those desires could hold. And finally we learned about how literature can often reflect on society, culture, place and or history. The relationship between the two really shows us how similar old and newer societies really are.

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