• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Keats explore aspects of time in "La Belle dam sans Merci" and "Eve of St Agnes"?

Extracts from this document...


"How does Keats explore aspects of time in 'La Belle Dame sans Merci' and 'The Eve of St Agnes'? - Jessica Bryant The poet John Keats, inspired by the sentimental nature of his unrequited love for Fanny and the depression he felt due to the death of his mother and his brother, wrote both ballads using the key theme of time, to engage the listener. The use of tenses links succinctly in with Keats' use of time. The change of tenses throughout "La Belle Dame", whereby the first three verses are set in the present tense, "no birds sing", verses four to eleven are set in the past, "I met a lady" and verse twelve is again set in the present, "no birds sing". The effect of this as well as the first and last verse including, "Alone and palely loitering", is to create a circular chronological structure. This represents a question asked and answered within the poem and a feeling of entrapment within a cycle of death and love (key themes featuring in Keats' poetry, and contextually in his life). ...read more.


However, whilst he is with her, summer is inferred via the use of sensual floral references, "garland for her head" (touch), "fragrant zone" (smell), suggesting the warmth and intimacy of his feelings for her. This atmospheric separation between the seasons intensifies the loneliness and suffering of the knight after his meeting with her, "alone and palely loitering". "The Eve of St Agnes" also uses a wintry setting, "bitter chill", "trembling [...] frozen grass", "frosted breath", yet this is used to conjure the symbolism of God and Madeline's family's disapproval of their courtship. This creates the impression of a 'higher power' perhaps scrutinising Porphyro and Madeline's doings; Porphyro's inner thoughts, fears and paranoia. Similarly, Keats' use of the "Moon" represents the urgency of Porphyro's passion, particularly as the moon is commonly associated with its 'lunar calendar', in which he has to capture Madeline before his opportunity is lost, "I've mickle time to grieve", an expression of his determination. Both poems create a medieval scene, "La Belle Dame"; "knight-at-arms", "pale warriors", "faery's child", "pacing steed", "Eve of St Agnes; ""lofty plume" (reference to a knight's helmet), "witch's sieve", "liege-lord", "Elves and Fays", "wolves and bears", "Merlin", "Dame", "maiden", ...read more.


The use of an irregular rhyme scheme in "The Eve of St Agnes"- Iambic pentameter except for last line which is iambic hexameter - suggests an ongoing narrative throughout as well as displaying the infrequency of the pagan Eve of St Agnes feast (whereby virgins may see their future husbands). Also, syndetic listing is included within the caesura, "and sleep, and dream" creating a rhythm comparable to that of a heart beat, in order to show how Porphyro's fear creates a slow motion of time and an increased physical and sexual awareness, as he prepares to witness Madeline. "La Belle Dame" involves a similar rhyme scheme - iambic tetrameter except for the last line of each stanza that are of varying length - this variation of length represents the abrupt change in the relationship/ knight's life, as the listener, lulled into a security within the regularity, is subconsciously disturbed by a change in rhyme in verse nine. Overall, the use of time in both poems aids the in-depth view into Keats' life and emotional workings. Ultimately, it is his use of archaisms that create the setting, yet it is his use of tenses, seasons, rhythm and rhyme scheme that imply the subtleties of "The Eve of St Agnes" and "La Belle Dame sans Merci". ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Authors section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Authors essays

  1. Italo Calvino's use of a suit of armor in "The Non-Existent Knight" to satirize ...

    thrust in pillows, with a thread of spittle dribbling from open lips'.2 The disgraceful portrayal of knights lacking armor highlights the fact that knights are ostensibly strong, yet underneath their suit of armor are merely human. Due to the strong and polished appearance of a suit of armor, the knight

  2. Social outsiders are often treated in a cruel and unjust way. Explore the presentation ...

    She even states that "I'm used to Edgar and Isabella Linton", which could hint that she might share the same view of the Linton's on Heathcliff. The effect of that is that Catherine started to share her days greater with the Lintons and much less with Heathcliff,

  1. In what ways do African writers explore the theme of race?

    Many critics - of which Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe is most vocal - have called Conrad a racist for his gratuitous use of the word 'n****r' and his excessive fixation with 'blackness': 'Certainly Conrad had a problem with n****rs. His inordinate love of that word itself should be of interest to psychoanalysts.

  2. The theme of the Gothic in Rebecca

    My elusive Menabilly' (Page 55. Du Maurier's Cornwall) Du Maurier's own description of how the house looks again reinforces the metaphorical undertone of hidden depths; 'The windows were shuttered fast, white and barred. Ivy covered the grey walls and threw tendrils round the windows. The house, like the world was sleeping too.'

  1. Explore Maria Edgeworth's use of the theme of names and titles within Castle Rackrent ...

    Also in the year that Edgeworth wrote the country encountered a massive rebellion led by Wolfe Tone. Ireland was on the verge of the Act of Union which threatened to dissolve Home Rule. This actually came into force in the year 1800.

  2. Book Review of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".

    This is a weak point and takes away from the authenticity of the story. Another drawback is that the beginning is not exciting enough to maintain the reader?s interest. At the beginning, the novel is very dull, and there isn?t any action.

  1. How Edgar Allan Poe creates horror in 'The Pit and the Pendulum'

    But, as in a place like that there is no luck, it is obvious that it is going to be his fate in the end. The narrator seems to start losing his sanity as he starts ?smiling at the glittering death? of the pendulum coming towards him.

  2. Poe Analysis - The Cask of Amontillado: Historical Context

    If Poe's readers could not be expected to identify the nationality of each element, so much the better for creating the impression that the story happens "in another place and time.?? The time of the story may be guessed at.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work