Critical Analysis of “Dejection: an Ode” | Ode by S. T. Coleridge

Critical Analysis of “Dejection: an Ode” | Ode by  S. T. Coleridge

After critical analysis, “Dejection: an Ode” is determined as a conversational poem of S. T. Coleridge. Conversational poems are those kinds of poems in which a poet imagines a listener in front of him. He imagines that a listener is listening his hue and cry or whatever his stance is. No conversation takes place between a poet and the listener even then a poet establishes a relationship. These kind of poems are not purely different from soliloquies or monologues. Only difference is of an imaginary listener.

As a result of critical analysis, “Dejection: an Ode” has been put in category of conversational poems but it is not the only conversational poem of S.T. Coleridge. He wrote many other poems with same style and attitude.

Click to read “Dejection: an Ode” instead of its critical analysis.

Critical Analysis of “Dejection: an Ode”:

Keen critical analysis of “Dejection: an Ode” depicts personal problems of the poet. He starts it with description of night scene. Weather is very much clear. Cool wind is blowing. He is enjoying beauty of nature. Full moon increases his happiness. Suddenly, he realizes he is going to have a terrible weather. He is expecting a storm, which will destroy beauty of night. A melancholic tune is being played due to aeolian.

It seems that the poet is not in imagination. He creates realistic imagery, full of music and euphony. Sudden change in his feelings due to stormy weather creates sense of grief. In fact, it overpowers him. He wants silence. He is greatly disturbed by the terrific stormy weather. He also gives its description in various lines. Thick rain showers make him more sad.

He was expecting new inspiration from changing weather but depression overwhelmed him. He wants to utter his problems but feels that his tongue is seized. He finds no word to express his feelings. No suitable word comes in his mind. It seems that he himself is not sure about his problem. He feels that he is in grave danger but does not know reason behind it. He knows that he is in pain but is unable to express it. He tries to gather suitable words for expression of his grief so that he will be able to share his problems. He can’t translate his feelings. Following lines demonstrate his unexplainable grief.

A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear, 
A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief, 
Which finds no natural outlet, no relief, 
In word, or sigh, or tear— 

Critical mum tragedy can be witnessed in analysis of above lines of “Dejection: an Ode”.

Finally, he speaks about his problem. His problem is related to creative imagination. He feels that he is losing his imagination. His feelings for beauty of nature have died and he is no more able to find beauty in natural objects. Everything is same except his vision. It is fading day by day.

In this poem, S.T. Coleridge is talking about his poetic faculty. He and John Keats both wrote “dejections” because they felt that they lost their poetic spirit. They know the importance of imagination in a romantic poet’s life. Every romantic poet is dependent on his power of imagination. Loss of creativity is irreparable.

Description of clear weather is a symbol of poet’s creative powers. Full moon, beautiful sky and cool wind symbolize for bright imagination of poet but stormy weather is a symbol of threat. He says that clouds, moon, wind, trees, plants and flowers are same but his senses do not respond to them. Starting lines of the poem signify early days of his life. He remembers those days when he possessed good vision. Stormy weather on the opposite is a symbol of poet’s insensitiveness.

Nature is beautiful but there is no beauty in flowers and birds for a sick person. Poetry is nothing without imagination. It cannot be felt without strong imagination nor can it be written. Not everyone can write poetry means S. T. Coleridge. His feelings for nature are going to die and without them he will not be able to feel beauty in nature. It is, therefore, he laments on his loss.

Poem is highly ironic. Poet on one hand sheds tears on his loss but on the other hand minutely paints nature with imagination in the whole poem. He cries that he is no more a poet due to which his condition is critical yet he opposes his own analysis in “Dejection: an Ode” as it is one of his best poems. Perhaps, he mourns on his future and the poem is about upcoming disasters.

He then talks about the importance of natural joy. Man possesses feelings and emotions and imagination is a method to change them. A depressed person may find peace in his imagination. Similarly, a person may become sad after imagining hard days of his life. Imagination is a precious thing for every person especially for the poets. Aristotle gave strong grounds in defense of poetry. “Imitation” is the most important thing in his eyes. A poet always imitate things. Imitation is only possible if a person has good imagination. When a poet loses it the world becomes barren for him.

Critical analysis of barren world is also noticed in “Dejection: an Ode”. S. T. Coleridge does not want to see the barren world, therefore, he bewails on the loss of his poetic faculty. He remembers his old days when his power was good enough to feel joy in every natural object. Indeed, those days were the most beautiful days of his life. He was hopeful. He could handle his depressions with his imaginative powers. “Whence Fancy made me dreams of happiness” suggests that he was happily living life of dreams.

Sad tune on Aeolian lute refers gloomy mood of the poet. He is rebuking the storm because he is playing a melancholic tune in the month of April. He says that it should play a romantic and cheerful tune in these days. Symbolically, the poet’s mood is sad. He is hearing the tune in his imagination. His heart is depressed; therefore, the tune is sad. Condition of the poet is very painful. He cites tragic tale of Lucy Gray, who went to find his mother in a storm with lantern in her hand but lose her way. Eventually, she fell from a bridge and died. This story relates miserable condition of poet. He resists but ultimately he surrenders. He gives up on his imagination.

In last lines of the poem, he prays for his beloved. May she never share his dejection; may she never loose his imagination; may she never wake up at night and lament; may her condition never become so miserable; may she find peace in natural objects; may she find beauty in nature. With a lot of prayers, he ends the poem after wishing her eternal happiness.

It is calculated from critical analysis of “Dejection: an Ode” that the poem is an amazing piece of literature. It strengthens the God gifted creativity of S. T. Coleridge. Simultaneously, it is ironic. The poet mourns on his loss; he feels that he has lost his poetic genius even then the poem is a masterpiece. He cries on the most valuable thing of life. He possesses a precious thing viz. imagination. It helped him gaining fame. It also gave him pleasure. Besides, it helped him altering his mood; therefore, he felt dejected on loss of the most valuable thing of his life.

Related Question:

  • Write critical analysis of “Dejection: an Ode” by S.T. Coleridge.
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S. T. Coleridge cries that he is no more a poet and his condition is critical yet he opposes his own analysis in "Dejection: an Ode" as it his best poem.
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