Negative Capability in the Characters of Keats' Magor Poetry
SubjectKeats, John,1795-1821--Poetry--Criticism and interpretation; Poets, English--19th century--Criticism and interpretation; Poetry--Criticism and interpretation
The intention of this thesis is to prove that "negative capability" exists within the characters of Keats' major poetry. But a problem arises in defining "negative capability." In the introductory chapter the term is redefined as a speculation on a style and ideal of life, as opposed to a style of art, and the contention is made that Keats found a voice for his speculations on "negative capability" in the characters of his major poems. The following poems are discussed: "Ode to a Nightingale, Hyperion, and Lamia. The discussions focus primarily on these three points: (1) the degree to which each character possesses "negative capability" (i.e., his ability for self-negation, empathic-identification, and disinterestedness); (2) the progression of the protagonist towards "negative capability" and his reactions upon achieving that ideal; and (3) the consequences suffered by those who fail to function with "negative capability." The "Ode to a Nightingale" and Hyperion deal primarily with the ideal aspect of "negative capability"; Lamia and, to some extent, Hyperion deal with the concept as a style of life. The discussions attempt not only to prove that "negative capability" does exist within the characters of Keats' major poetry, but also to demonstrate the validity of the definition of "negative capability" as a speculation on a style and ideal of life, and thus to discover another dimension of Keats' elusive term.
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