JOHN KEATS' "ENDYMION"
KEATS' REPRESENTATION OF BEAUTY IN ENDYMION
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever,
Its loveliness increases…”
The very opening of “Endymion” describes something that is joyful or pleasurable as eternally beautiful. In the poem, Keats has explored and expounded upon the true beauty of this life and the world. He has sought grace and uniqueness in almost everything that Nature has provided us. Even in the apparently ugly and unattractive things, Keats manages to find something to appreciate and be happy about.
Keats is of the view that everything that is truly beautiful will provide pleasure and will soothe forever. And because it is truly beautiful, therefore, its charm will never fade away. It will always be as attractive and pleasurable. Such a thing will always be like a shady place in a desert, a source of satisfaction, peace and tranquility.
Further Keats, who, himself had seen so much misery and agony in life , believes that there exists in the world a lot of troubles, obstacles and difficulties. There is a severe lack of good people in this world and there will always be some ready to hinder your boat’s smooth sailing. Problems and difficulties will be ever ready to attack and one may have to live through dark, gloomy days wherein success seems distant and hopelessness overshadows all.
However, at the same time, Keats is convinced that there is something that can shed these clouds of gloom and disappointment. Therefore, he states:
“…yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall”
Yes, indeed, Keats being a lover of Nature shows how to derive pleasure and happiness from all the beautiful things that Nature has bestowed upon us. Keats is of the opinion that Nature’s beautiful gifts like the Sun, the Moon, trees, flowers, sheep, mountains and brooks are all an embodiment of ultimate creativity and intricate art work and therefore, hold great charm and elegance. In times of difficulty they can prove to be like a cool breeze in the hot summer season. They not only provide pleasure to the eyes or soothe the physical senses but also lift the soul and lighten the heart.
This is what establishes them as the ultimate source of true, unfaltering beauty. Furthermore, according to Keats, there can also be found “grandeur of the dooms”. Keats truly knows how to find a reason to appreciate even the apparently depressing and ugly things in life. He finds great beauty in the ivy growing on the tombstones, the flowers decorated on the graves and the dead being remembered in golden words. Herein, Keats looks at death not as the end of life, but as the beginning of a new life.
Moreover, Keats observes that God is continuously bestowing upon mankind his blessings, in the form of beautiful things. Beauties are always around us, waiting to be noticed and enjoyed by humans. They could be in any shape and from but their purpose is to provide comfort not only to the physical being but also to the mind and the soul. They are an indispensable part of our lives and accompany us in good or bad times. Therefore:
“They always must be with us, or we die.”