Transitory Nature of Human Attitudes in the Poem The Nile by John Keats

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Human thoughts are said to be not persistent. They can be changed overtime or due to a new concept plunged. Therefore, concepts and ideas often undergo changes. Since the beginning of the civilization, human being have given life to many concepts giving shapes to their development. Myths and beliefs related to gods still keeps changing creating much debate. Some believe them while some cast away them as fabricated stories. However, people still have mixed feelings with reference to things beyond themselves. In the poem The Nile by John Keats, the mixed feelings towards a myth woven around the river Nile are brought forward showing the true nature of human attitudes which keep changing. 

Keatsutilises a changing structure to put his flow emotions forward. The PetrarchanSonnet itself has a change between the Octave and Sestet. Throughout the fourteen lines the reader can experience the change of attitude in relation to the subject matter. The start and the end have a huge contrast which shows the inconsistency of human emotions. In the beginning, the flow of attitude change: glorification to suspicion showing the battle of changing emotions. At the end, reader can see how the poet fails to rationalize his depth of knowledge related to myths; he gives up generalizing that this river is just another river which beautifies the world. 

The attitude put forward changes from glorifications, suspicion and questioning to understanding and generalization through Octave to Sestet. The poet glorifies the river Nile personifying it to a nature god and wonder. In the very glimpse of thought he doubts his own emotions because of the voice in his inward eye, the conscience. It contrasts the prosperity with barrenness as Nile flows through a desert. This can be taken as a fight between heart vs brain. In this juncture, the poet dares to question the nature god that he just created. He questions about the trustworthiness of the prosperity to be worshipped by swart people who toil hard to survive. Readers can sense the confusion created in the mind of the poet regarding the river and the myths woven around it. 

However, Keats reveals the enlightenment of his imperfection regarding the subject matters beyond himself. He claims that it is ignorance that creates doubts about such matters. It is a fine portrayal of human nature which comes to understanding point at some stage of time. In this point the reader can see the change of poet’s attitude regarding the river. He thus introduces the river as another natural element which nourishes and beautifies the nature. The Archaic language he used at the beginning changes into ordinary language with ordinary imagery. This visualises the change of attitude comes through experiences and understanding.

The poem to the Nile is a one of the finest addresses to the Myths and nature contrasting its effect to the life of human beings. It shows that the nature is persistent but the attitude of human beings changes according to their capacity to understand the subject matter.

This critical evaluation can also be challenged in many ways. I would like you to share your opinions in relation to this. Just leave a comment below.         

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Line by Line Analysis of To the Nile by John Keats 

Analysing the Petrarchan Sonnet Form


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