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The Dreaming Dead: A Psychological study of Keats' Poetry - Essay Example

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While making a comparison between Shakespeare and Keats, literary critics have found many similarities in the poetic style, imagery and content of the two (White; Shakespeare-online.com). …
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The Dreaming Dead: A Psychological study of Keats' Poetry

Download file to see previous pages... Keats himself has acknowledged the influence of Shakespeare on him by saying that Shakespeare’s “good genius” had guided him greatly in his poetry writing exercises (quoted in Fischlin and Fortier, 97). John Middleton Murry has controversially observed that Keats was “the only poet who is like Shakespeare” in the sense that Keats manifested the same profound and mature poetic sense that prevails in Shakespeare (quoted in Fischlin and Fortier, 97). It can be seen that the comparison made between Shakespeare and Keats here, is in poetic style and sensibility. Many examples for these structural and internal similarities, between the two poets can be found if one examines their works putting them side by side. For example, in the play, “King Stephen”, Keats is using “blank verse and figurative diction” as was used by Shakespeare and also at many points, this work of Keats is supposed to resemble Macbeth in its content (Fischlin and Fortier, 98). It has also been observed that “Keats's poems duplicate Shakespeare's style and are full of Shakespearean imagery” (Shakespeare-online.com). On the other side, it is also revealed that Keats and Shakespeare shared common grounds in their poetic sensibility in a deeper sense, that saw the world and human miseries with detachment, went beyond moral judgment to portray human beings in their wholeness, and tried to answer the basic questions of existence (Murry). This research paper attempts to explain, rather than describe, this similarity in content, style and imagery between Shakespeare and Keats. The investigation in this paper will circle around the question why Keats, who died in his early twenties, could rise to such a literary level as to his poetry being compared to the poetry of Shakespeare who wrote his major works in his late 30s. Hence this investigation is more about why Keats wrote like Shakespeare rather than what are their similarities, just so because the similarities have already been pointed out by many critics (Fischlin and Fortier, 98; Shakespeare-online.com). It is attempted to reveal through the examination of the poetic imagery of Keats that he, in his active writing age, had achieved a mental state as mature and deep as that of Shakespeare in his late thirties. In other words, it is argued that Keats had undergone the mental and psychological evolution process at a faster pace than that usually happens with a normal individual and even with an exceptionally creative personality like Shakespeare. Methodology To find out why Keats has similarities to Shakespeare, the concept of individuation put forth by Jung has been applied to the poetic personality of Keats and it is hypothesised that Keats had attained his individuation at a very early age and thus had equalled Shakespeare’s poetic personality in many aspects even at such a young age when he wrote his poems. Jung has defined individuation as “the bringing into reality of the whole human being” that is in other words, a well-balanced state of the conscious and the unconscious selves (Jung, Dell and Baynes, 26). Jung has put forth a differentiation between the conscious and the unconscious of a human mind and stated that a “dream (which Jung calls “the utterance of the unconscious”) gives a true picture of the subjective (unconscious) state, while the conscious mind denies that this state exists, or recognises it only grudjingly” (Jung, Dell and Baynes, 5,6). It is through the suppression of the unconscious mind and its urges that the conscious mind imparts the capability of living as a social being to a person (Jung, Dell and Baynes). But the problem with this suppression is that it generates conflicting desires and thoughts in human mind and thus produces an imbalance (Jung, Dell and B ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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