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How successfully does Keats address the theme of love and loss in La Belle Dame Sans Merci

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Introduction

"How successfully does Keats address the theme of love and loss in La Belle Dame Sans Merci" The poem shows us how powerful a beautiful woman can be, luring men away because of their lust and desire. It tells us of the power of "Amour" against "Armour", how a knight can be enchanted by the love and beauty of a woman and be made useless. The knight is lead by his desire rather than reason, he is intoxicated by the woman who does as she pleases with him. In the poem the first speaker finds a lonely knight who tells him the story of "wild" lady in the meads, which the knight met. "Her eyes were wild", her wildness makes her seem to be uncivilised and uncontrollable, with no restraint. She has elements of supernatural linked to her, described by the knight as, "a faery's child" living in her "elfin grot". The knight uses supernatural description because the woman seems too good to be true, he sees her as a faery because of her enchanting and seductive powers. "For sidelong would she bend and sing a faery's song", the woman can also be compared to the Sirens from The Odyssey, who use their beauty and songs to bewitch men drawing them to their island, where their ships would smash against the rocks, and then the cannibal Sirens would eat them. ...read more.

Middle

Also the woman may have spoken to him in a supernatural elfin or faerie language. The description off what the knight did with the woman is not to be taken literally, she feeds him "relish sweet, and honey wild, and manna dew", these are all godly, mysterious and supernatural foods, manna being spiritual and divine nourishment. These foods can be related to mysterious creatures like elves or faeries, but not to a knight, so the nourishment he was receiving was probably love. The knight also says that, "she took me to her elfin grot", this is not necessarily exactly where the lady lives but it could be what the knight the aura the knight felt coming from her dwelling, furthermore increasing the supernaturalism around the woman. The knight does not only love the woman because of her beauty but also because of her sensitivity, "there she wept and sigh'd full sore". "She lulled me asleep", she also seems very caring about the knight acting motherly towards him, lulling him to sleep, like a mother would to her children. The word "wild" is mentioned three times in the poem, "her eyes wild", "honey wild" and "her wild wild eyes", this gives us a sense of the woman being uncontrolled and uncivilised, giving the knight some "honey wild". ...read more.

Conclusion

to marry because of Keats financial and physical problems (he developed tuberculosis like his mother and father and died at the age of 26). Keats writes the poem in ballad form to make the words flow through more, also the ends of line 2 and 4 rhyme. He also repeats words like "wild" and "pale" in the poem, which are really the key words behind the poem, how the woman is wild and uncontrollable and what her effects on the knight are. In verse 4 the knight described her with lots of l's and f's, "lady", "long", "light, "full", "faery", "foot", this shows her apparent softness and gentleness in character, which the knight is bewitched by. The poem is also set in medieval times to make it seem more like a fairytale and French is used to make the poem more romantic and mysterious. The love and loss in the poem seems only to be one sided, this maybe because of what Keats experienced in his life with Fanny Browne but he tries to cover it up by setting the poem in a completely different time to his. The love the knight feels is short lasted, and the loss and obsession takes over, he looses all his life to the devotion to a mysterious and supernatural woman. 1 Kritank Gupta ...read more.

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