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The Unsolved Riddle

             Almost throughout the history of English poetry never came a poem so controversial as Keats" " Ode On a Grecian Urn". With its paradoxical construction, exotic subject, and enigmatic final statement of the beauty- truth equation, this masterpiece has been brought into focus several times in an attempt to solve the riddle of the " Sylvan historian".
             In this poem, Keats occupies the readers" minds with a series of paradoxes basically stemming from his personal encounter with the urn, ultimately creating a unique state of empathy with the readers through communicating his own bafflement to them. There are three parties sharing this experience: the poet, the poem, and the reader. The three of them become members performing a play, with Keats as the writer, the director, and the metanarrator; the poem as the stage; the reader as the interactive audience and the perplexed critic. As for the urn, it undertakes the role of the heroine, the internal setting_ the stage on stage, and the narrator. As for the action, the only on-stage one is confined to the silent narration, for the narrating urn is mute and silent, and from here springs the first paradox of the scene-stanza 1 the moment the curtain opens:.
             Thou still unravish"d bride of quietness,.
             Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,.
             Sylvan historian, who canst thus express.
             A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme.
             The setting, as the trend is in every scene-stanza of the play poem, comes divided into an external setting_ where the metanarrator observes the narrator in bewildered admiration, thus shedding light on the plot_ and an internal one exhibited on the urn. The urn is the untouched "bride of quietness" and the "foster- child" of time: the great destroyer of all: time, is the one who adopts the urn. Furthermore, the urn, essentially silent, skillfully plays the role of a " Sylvan historian", expressively relating a glamorous flower-decked tale in a manner that outweighs the author's text : Keats" "rhyme".

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