Show MoreJohn Keats’s “La Belle Dame sans Merci” parallels the predicament of a dying knight with the final moments of his life, and love for Fanny Brawne. Keats’s obsession with willing suspension of disbelief and shadows of the imagination are exemplified in the ballad. The poem displays romanticism with hyperbole describing each character. Keats’s poem, “La Belle Dame sans Merci”, is explicated through the structure, tone, hyperbole, and parallels to his love life and final moments; all of these instances in this poem relate to romanticism. Romanticism, or the Romantic period, was a movement that focused on art, writing, and development of the human mind. This revolution started in Europe and lasted from approximately 1800 to 1850. This…show more content…
However, the fourth line of each quatrain is consistently shorter. In the beginning of the poem, the narrator asks the reader, “O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, alone and palely loitering?” (Keats 1-2). The shortness of the fourth line adds meaning to the poem because it shows a shift in tone, and pushes the reader along as they read. The poem is a ballad, read orally from person to person. Because of this, the fourth line displays an end to the singing. Keats attempted to mimic ballads in this poem due to the aforementioned success that William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge had with “Lyrical Ballads”, which was John Keats’s template for writing this work. The collaboration between the poets was “his, and everyone’s principal reference” (Earl 2). Keats consistently read the works of Coleridge and used the basis of negative capability as a foundation for the poem. Negative capability was “the willing suspension of disbelief” (Earl 3), which was embodied in the knight and the belle dame. Keats delves into characterization in order to personify inner mood of the knight. Besides the first three stanzas, Keats stays out of the poem entirely. In the first three stanzas, the poet is a narrator, but he only asks the knight questions and answers them for the knight in order to “move onto the character of the knight” (Leal 1). Also, the narrator’s answers place the setting of the
Theme of Beauty in La Belle Dame Sans Merci Essay
492 Words2 Pages
In the poem “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” by John Keats, the main theme is the idea that beauty is only skin deep and can be an extremely painful emotional experience. The title loosely translates into “the beautiful woman with no mercy”. As we read the poem it becomes clear that the knight had his feelings shattered by this woman on his steed.
Keats uses a number of different language techniques to make the poem effective. The first is dividing the poem into two parts through the use of 2 speakers. We do not know who the first speaker is, probably someone who is passing through the area. In stanza 1 and 2 the poet makes use of repetition as he questions the knight about his condition “Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight?” line 1 stanza 1…show more content…
In stanza 3 Keats extends the physical and mental description of the knight through the use of metaphor. He compares the knight’s face to that of a” lily” and also a “fading rose”. Traditionally the lily is associated with death. Contrary to that the rose is a symbol of love but it is fading. He is also physically sick with “fever dew”, probably from being out in the cold for a while.
In stanza 4 the knight replies with a narrative of events that has affected him. He tells of the lady and his fatal attraction to her. In stanza 4, 5 and 6 Keats cleverly uses the position of the speakers to show their dominance. In the first 2 lines of each of these 3 stanzas he makes the knight the dominant character by speaking first in describing his actions (“I met”, “I made”, “I set her”) and in lines 3 and 4 he shifts attention to the lady. In stanzas 7 and 8 the lady is the dominant character (“she found”, “she said”, “she took me”, “she wept and sighed”). There is also the repetition of “wild” in “honey wild” and “wild sad eyes” and “root” which might suggest that this woman was a bit crazy as a result of being jilted by a previous lover. She could have drugged him with roots and wild honey. This is supported by the fact that he had dreamed and also that he had seen other “pale warriors” “who cry’d”.
With the exception of the first line of the first and last stanza, there is a repetition of that stanza. This indicates that the knight is not going