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La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 3 (642 words)
Categories: Poems, Poetry, Romanticism
Downloads: 28
Views: 8

Was written by John Keats in the Romanticism Period in around 1821. Keats died of tuberculosis in 1821 at a young age. Romantic poets wrote their poems mostly about childhood, individuality, nature but mostly about their feelings. The title of this poem, when translated from its original French language, means the beautiful woman without mercy, and the lady was exactly that – without mercy because she made the knight fall in love with her by seducing him, then abandoning him.

She belongs to the group of mythical creatures called the ‘femme fatales’. In ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’, Keats uses simple, archaic language. It is a balled and therefore a narrative poem. There are various narrative levels that make it more difficult to the reader to understand he meaning of the poem. Keats provides minimal details about the characters and makes no judgements. Some details are realistic, others strange. As a result, the poem creates a sense of mystery and fantasy.

In fact it is a poem full of fantasy and mystery with many questions and few answers. In fact, throughout the poem, dream and reality keep intertwining as if the are one so an unclear picture is given as there is the possibility of it all being a dream. The poem starts with a question. ‘ O what can ail thee, Knight-at-arms’ asks the speaker to the knight, as he is ‘palely loitering’ in a barren site. The knight is lacking life and vitality. Similarly, ‘the sedge is wither’d’ and ‘no birds sing’.

The hill mirrors the knight’s lifeless and pale state. The anonymous speaker focuses on the physical and emotional condition of the knight. He says that the knight is ‘haggard’ and ‘woe-begone’, thus the knight seems to be lacking vital energy possibly because of life and work, he seems to be worn out. He compares the knight’s paleness to first a lily, a symbol of death and then to a ‘fading rose’, symbolising beauty which is however losing its colour and thus once again symbolising lake of life and also symbolising a loss in health.

The knight is being put out of context in the comparison of his lack of vitality with his surroundings(nature) which is full of life to offer All this life being metaphorically sucked out of the knight may give the idea of this fatal lady to be a vampire, which is yet another supernatural which sucks blood, which is a symbol of the life in our bodies and which the knight seems to be losing the story in this poem progresses. But his beauty is ‘fast withereth’ and here the knight’s physical appearance is being associated to lifelessness and death.

At first they nature was used as imagery and comparison, but later on it is used metaphorically. The knight’s problems start as soon as he says, ‘ I met a lady in the meads’. The lady is the cause of his problems, a symbol of destructive yet lovable beauty. He starts by describing her beauty, ‘full beauty – a feary’s child’. The poet is here giving a picture of bright and breath taking beauty as usually fairies are very sweet and pretty creatures. He adds to this description of the lady by saying that ‘ her hair was long, her foot was light, and her hair was light and her eyes were wild.

‘ She is a symbol of the supernatural, she is a beautiful, light and passionate creature yet full of indescribable and intriguing mystery. She is a symbol of love and passion and her perfection seems so close yet unreachable through all its mystery, something so beautiful and loving beyond the knight’s imagination. She could also be an image of what the knight wants to dream. She is associated to nature and the supernatural, something mystical and unknown to the human scientific knowledge.

Cite this essay

La Belle Dame Sans Merci. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/la-belle-dame-sans-merci-essay

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