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Eternal Love Through Death in John Keats Bright Star

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Kwok Kwok Lai Chu, Yukie Prof. Michael O?Sullivan ENGE 2370 18 Oct 2013 Eternal Love Through Death in John Keats? Bright Star Love, being one of the most debated topics in literature, often serves as a source of inspirations for many of writers and poets, including John Keats. Throughout his life, he wrote countless love poems and letters, addressing his lover ? Fanny Brawne. The star, apart from being the symbol of steadfastness and constancy, it is also a metaphor representing Keats himself. Through Keats? idea of ?Mansion of life?, the poem is consisted of two floors where the first floor displays his passionate love for Brawne while the second floor talks about his inner desire for death. Keats first expresses his ideal, however paradoxical love. There are two essential yet conflicting qualities in this poem ? the reality verses the ideal and the immortal verses the mortal. On one hand, he would like to be like a star, steadfast and unchanging. On the other, he dislikes the solitude of the star as it has to watch ?the moving waters? and ?the new soft-fallen mask/Of snow? from afar like a ?sleepless Eremite?. ...read more.


While I was reading Bright Star, I could not help but catch the similarity between Keats and Shakespeare?s idea of love. In the opening of Shakespeare?s sonnet 116, ?Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth?s unknown, although his height be taken.? (Shakespeare) Shakespeare talks about his ideal love and marriage. Keats, being a reader of Shakespeare, is in some way affected or inspired by him. Shakespeare describes love as an ?ever-fixed marks? that ?is never shaken? even in the wildest storms. Keats transformed Shakespeare?s ?ever-fixed? into steadfastness. Keats then moves on to talk about a more sexual and sensuous love. With more explicit descriptions of ?my [his] fair love?s? body parts, those descriptions hint the idea of sex and orgasm. ...read more.


Keats? obsession with death and his love for Fanny are intertwined seamlessly throughout the poem. In one of his letters, he states ?I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks, your loveliness and the hour of my death? (Poet.org). Not only is Keats intimidated by death, to some extent he is also intrigued by it. Even though he is worried about the approaching death, to him the promise of death is comforting and soothing. The only resolution to achieve the paradoxical ideal of being eternal as well as experiencing love is death. Through death, immutability and steadfastness can be achieved. Keats has seen many people died in his lifetime. His father died when he was eight; his mother died from tuberculosis when he was 14; his brother Tom died also from tuberculosis when he was 19. Along with his family?s deaths, he has also seen a lot of patients died as he was also a medical student. Therefore, constantly seeing people die in a way reminds him of the transience and the mutability of life. There are some religious references in the second quatrain of the poem. ...read more.

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