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Compare and Contrast three of the “Best Words” poems on love relationships. Examine the natures of the relationships conveyed and the ways in which the poets present them. Which of the poems most interests you? (provide your reason).

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Compare and Contrast three of the "Best Words" poems on love relationships. Examine the natures of the relationships conveyed and the ways in which the poets present them. Which of the poems most interests you? (provide your reason). The three poems that I have chosen to examine are: 'Ballad', which is anonymous, 'Shall I Compare Thee...' by William Shakespeare and 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' by John Keats. The three poems have both their similarities and their contrasts, which makes them a good selection to study. The first and most obvious contrast, and reason for contrast between the three pieces is the time they were written- with the Ballad being anonymous, we cannot say when it was written, but the other two were written a couple of centuries apart. 'Shall I Compare Thee...' during either the sixteenth or seventeenth century and 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' in the nineteenth. This gap, in the times they were written, means that some of the language used in the poems is different, both from each other and from language spoken now. A further reason for the contrast in language used is the audiences they were written for. ...read more.


'Ballad' is the same, and although the events portrayed in the story could have happened to someone, it is most likely to have originated as just a story. The dissimilarity this gives the poems, is because they are all aimed to do different things, the sonnet is intended to woo the receiver; 'La Belle Dame' is meant partly to warn the reader, but mostly to entertain. The third is written, again to entertain, but has more of a moral than the first two, the moral being don't fall a victim to unfaithful lovers. The relationship conveyed by Shakespeare is a very loving and 'pretty' relationship. You can tell this as a reader from both the language used and the style of the whole piece: "Shall I compare thee to a Summers day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate". This makes the sonnet very believable in addition to creating a sense of lovingness between the deliverer of the poem and the receiver of the compliments. Shakespeare furthermore appeals to the senses, "So long as man can breath or eyes can see", the other two appeal to the imagination but not the senses directly. ...read more.


The idea of comparing a lady to a summer's day is also intriguing and clever, giving the sonnet an interesting subject. The length of the poem also means that, unlike the other two, you have time to think and remember each line, and every one of them has to be good, because as a sonnet its length is limited. In the 'ballad' style not all of the lines necessarily have to contribute fully to the poem and could be used simply to complete a stanza or rhyme a line. This 'limit' on a sonnet's length means that all lines mean something and 'space is not wasted'. This said, all of the poems have their own individual merits, and are all very enjoyable to read and successful in their aims. All in all the three poems, although in some ways similar, have many more dissimilarities than similarities 'Ballad' and 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' are, because of their ballad style much more closely linked to each other. 'Shall I Compare Thee..." being as it is written in a completely different style, has few comparisons in the way in which it portrays the relationship involved. Alex Skinner 10D English 20th January 2002 ...read more.

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