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What is Negative Capability?

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Negative capability means the capability of negating oneself. Through this, Keats indicates a poet’s ability to keep himself aloof from his writings.

In accordance with John Keats (1795-1821), “one who has the negative capability, is capable of being uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”. Negative capability is also known as impersonality or objectivity. Although Keats was a writer in the age of subjectivity, he had objectivity or impersonality. His negative capability is seen to a great extent in the poem named “Ode to a Nightingale”. Forgetting the stern realities of life, he shares the joy if the Nightingale enjoys the joy of an ideal world in his imagination. Similarly, in the poem called “Ode on a Grecian Urn” Keats is able to take joy. The Grecian Urn is a symbol of purity, which teaches him to absorb the eternal value.

So, we can say that negative capability is the ability of a poet to keep himself and his emotions aloof from his writings.

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