Keats’ idea about “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”

In the poem Ode on A Grecian Urn, Keats is charmed by the sculptural beauty of the Grecian urn. He is led to glorify the world of art and feels its superiority to the reality of human life. The world of art remains everlasting, ever beautiful, ever-appealing. The figures carved on the marble urn are the work of art. They lack one thing-reality. But, on the other hand, they are not subjected to death, decay and destruction. In the real world, love passes away; trees shed their leaves and the fashion in music changes. But the world of art always remains true and happy in its suggestiveness and silence. This is an excellent realisation for Keats. To him, it is clear that art is far better than the real world. His mind is filled with ecstatic delight.

Keats closes his poem in a triumphant note. He draws from this urn a moral lesson. And this becomes the moral of his poetic creed. The generation of men come and go. But man’s art lives forever. The Grecian urn conveys to the world the supreme lessons of beauty and truth. And Keats passes his final verdict in the last two lines of the poem:-

Beauty is truth, truth beauty’-that is all
Ye know on earth, all ye need to know.

In the concluding lines of the ode, Keats draws a moral lesson from the urn that exhibits the perfection of the world of art. To him, beauty and truth are not two different things, not even twin things, but the same thing seen from different angles .only

Keats wants to mean actually that perfection is reached only when there is a notion of unity between beauty and truth. Once the idea is lost, the production becomes weak, false and gross. When a work is not beautiful, it ceases to be accurate, and there lies some flaw in the whole foundation.

Similarly, he opines that the work of art, which is not true, has no real beauty, although it may wear an alluring dress of beauty.  False beauty is based on no foundation and cannot stand. Art corresponds closely with beauty and truth, and thereby becomes permanent, as beauty and truth can never die as the same thing.