Summary of “A Thing of Beauty” by John Keats

Rashmi Baid

This poem is a revolt against the commonplace reality. According to Keats there is a difference between ordinary object and an object of beauty. While the effects of an ordinary object are temporary to our senses, they do not remain long in our minds and fade away with the time passes.

But on the other hand the effects of the objects of beauty permanently appeals to our senses, they do not fade with time and lingers in our senses. No time and space can destroy the effect of beauty of objects.

Keats describes the sun, the moon, the old trees, the daffodils, the clear streams and the forest which are rich with beautiful flowers-as the objects of beauty. These objects permanently appeals to our senses and nothing neither time nor space can make us forget them.

Everything in this world has beauty, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. We are the one who are not alert and continuously running in our life. Only if we become more alter and patient then we will be able to see beauty everywhere around us.

Endymion is an epic poem in English. This poem by Keats is based on the Greek mythology of Endymion, the shepherd beloved by the moon goddess Selene. We see an elaboration of the original story and the moon Goddess Selene is named as “Cynthia”.

John Keats

John Keats
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:John_Keats_by_William_Hilton.jpg

The poem equates Endymion’s original romantic ardor with a more universal quest for a self-destroying transcendence in which he might achieve a blissful personal unity with all creation.

Endymios in Greek mythology is a story of a handsome youth who spent much of his life sleeping. There are different views related to Endymion. According to some tradition Endymion was the king of Elis. Several traditions say that he was offered by Zeus to choose anything he might desire and Endymionin order to remain young forever chose an everlasting sleep.

While some tradition says Endymion’s eternal sleep was a punishment given by Zeus, because Endymion fell in love with Zeus’s wife Hera. Selene was deeply in love with Endymion, some say Selene had cursed Endymion into everlasting sleep so that she can enjoy him all by herself.

Selene’s love for Endymion made her visit him every night while he was asleep. But in the poem Keats emphasizes on Endymion’s love for Diana rather than on hers for him. Keats transformed this tale into prose to express the loves that have been felt on imaginative longings.

This theme of love is determined in the adventure of the Endymion quest by Diana. In the search for Diana Endymion falls in love with an earthly maiden. But in the end Diana and the earthly maiden turn out to be one and the same.