Themes of ode to nightingale
The main idea of a text expressed directly or indirectly is called theme.
In the ode Keats rejects wine for poetry, the product of imagination, as a means of identifying his existence with that of the happy nightingale. But poetry does not work the way it is supposed to. He soon finds himself back with his everyday, trouble-filled self. That "fancy cannot cheat so well / As she is fam'd to do," he admits in the concluding stanza. The imagination is not the all-powerful function Keats, at times, thought it was. It cannot give more than a temporary escape from the cares of life.
"The world of imagination offers a release from the painful world of actuality, yet at the same time it renders the world of actuality more painful by contrast." (Cleanth Brooks)
Versions of Reality
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the poem leaves the "normal" world, because the speaker's version of "normal" involves acting like he's on the drug opium. But by the fourth stanza it has become clear that he has joined the nightingale in a dark, lush fantasy world. His journey takes him close to the experience of death, but the spell is broken when the bird flies away unexpectedly. The entire poem is characterized by the speaker's "altered" mental state, which he claims is not due to alcohol or drugs, although he compares it to these things. The fantasy of the poem begins in stanza four, when the speaker escapes to the forest on the wings of poetry.
Keats wants the reader to think that his experience is identical to a state of extreme drunkenness or intoxication – only not caused by any kind of drug
“Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:- Do I wake or sleep?” (79-80)
The speaker gets that feeling you have just after you wake up from a very persuasive dream, where you're like, "Wait, so am I really the President of the United States, or not?" He cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, and he remains in a state of...