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A Brilliant Disguise - John Keats La Belle Dame Sans Merci, consists of two separate points of view.

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Introduction

A Brilliant Disguise John Keats La Belle Dame Sans Merci, consists of two separate points of view. One comes from the narrator, the other from the knight, who is under torment. The narrative is a fairly simple one; the knight encounters a beautiful lady that leaves him unable to get along with life, once she has left him. La Belle Dame Sans Merci is a story that is representative of the real versus the ideal. The lady, who exists solely in the knight's imagination, represents, not only the ideal, but also the knight's refusal to accept the real world, which leads to the destruction of his own life. The first two lines of stanzas I and II begin with the narrator, confused as to what could be wrong with the knight; "O what can ail thee, knight at arms." The second lines change however, giving the reader a description of the current physical state of the knight. The fact that Keats uses a knight as his main character is significant because a knight is supposed to be strong, both mentally and physically. However, in this poem it is the opposite. The knight is not strong, he is "Alone and palely loitering?" ...read more.

Middle

This makes her his queen, and in turn, the knight becomes the subject. The knight makes the same mistake in stanza VI, when he places the lady on his "pacing steed", elevating her to a position of dominance over him. The act seems innocent enough, however the knight is losing control. In each case, he is going out of his way to not only please her, but do what he can to win her over. However, he is being submissive to her, and at the same time, losing touch with reality. The third and fourth lines of stanzas IV, V and VI, focus on the girl's appearance, as well as, giving the reader insight as to the dangerous state the knight has fallen into. The knight ignores several warning signs that are presented to him throughout the poem. In stanza IV, Keats describes the lady's eyes as "wild," and then in stanza VIII, the knight proclaims "I shut her wild wild eyes". In Stanza VII, the lady finds the knight, "honey wild". The warning is quite clear because Keats drives his point across several times. The use of the word wild can be taken in two ways. The first would be the knight's attempt at taming a creature that is wild. ...read more.

Conclusion

They are "pale warriors, death-pale," very much like the knight, who is palely loitering. They also offer the knight a final warning about the dangers of the girl. In the final two lines of stanza X, they all cried "La belle dame sans merci Hath thee in thrall!" They are screaming out to him, but he doesn't hear them. In stanza XI, he sees "their starv'd lips in the gloam With horrid warning gaped wide". This time the knight acknowledges the warning, but he still doesn't do anything to protect himself. The poem ends with the same stanza that it began with. However, the first line was changed. The first line of the last stanza reads, "And this is why I sojourn here". The use of sojourn means that he will be in this place for some time dwelling on his current situation and leaves the reader wondering what will come of the knight. Keats use of contradictory statements and symbolism, while discussing the various events that lead to the demise of the knight, prove extremely useful for his desired outcome. His selection of characters is also a very important factor. If he had choose a common man instead of a knight the poem would have lost much of its meaning. 1 ...read more.

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