"Ode on a Grecian Urn" vs "The Wasteland"

Essay by eryka_sHigh School, 12th grade May 2006

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While "The Waste Land" depicts images of sterility and desolate land, "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is one of immortality and joy. The author speaks of the urn as a representation of timelessness, because time is the cause for all decay and the images on the urn never changes, while he is more like The Wasteland. He will decay eventually and he wishes he could be the urn.

Ode on a Grecian Urn is a reflection of the images on an urn. The urn tells a story of the people and the people are immortal. The urn freezes its art at the most beautiful parts of life, like the moment right before a kiss. The lover anticipates joy but never feels it. Even though the lover will never be able to experience the kiss the fact that he and his love will be timeless and immortal are enough to make up for the lost experience.

Love is eternal on the urn but in the mortal world, it comes and goes. The author is envious of this because he is mortal and he and his emotions cannot live on as the urn can. The author lives in the world of The Wasteland, one of death and without love. The only love in The Wasteland is fake love of rape and sex and nothing more deep or meaningful. The love of The Wasteland is dirty and shallow, while the love on the urn is pure and innocent, depicted with images of kisses, brides, and youth.

The images on the urn are those of birth and springtime. In addition, because these images are on the immortal urn it will always be springtime, the season for love and fertility. It will never change into winter, a season of...