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John Keats

            John Keats uses various techniques in his compositions to evoke a reader's response to his theme. In Keats's poem, "On first looking into Chapman's Homer" depicts Keats's emotions and feelings after being read Chapman's Elizabethan translation of the Odyssey. To show the magnitude of his delight, Keats compares his feelings to those of many explorers, who discover the wonders of the world and universe. On first looking into Chapman's Homer is an Italian sonnet, with 14 lines, in the classic rhyme pattern of abbaabbacdcdcd, and is written in an iambic pentameter, which gives the poem a lyrical flow. The poem begins with a calm beginning, in the voice of ripe experience. "Much have I traveled in the realms of gold. And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;" The calm beginning then mounts to the excitement of the climax towards the end. "Wild surmise" which is then confirmed by the next line, "Silent, upon the peak in Darien" and the image of the peak which also corresponds to the heightened moment. Keats states in this poem that he has traveled much; presumably by ship ("Round many western islands") Here we see the first comparison. Keats has done much exploring but he has never explored Homer. Keats compares reading Homer to be equivalent to discovering a new planet. But Keats does not stop at that comparison, because discovering a planet is usually a one-man business. Keats makes what would normally be a person and private reading into a communal and heroic event. He does this by turning the event of reading Chapman's Homer into one that is equal to the exploration of the pacific, or the movement of planets. Keats used Cortez because Cortez did not explore alone in Panama but was accompanied by all his men, (looking at each other with wild surmise.) Keats's theme in the poem is that when a person reads Homer, he or she becomes a member of a company of people who have discovered Homer.

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