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Write a detailed critical analysis of ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’, based upon your study of D’avanzo’s ‘A poem about Poetry and Imagination: La Belle Dame sans Merci’. Consider your own views as well as extracts from the text.

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Introduction

Write a detailed critical analysis of 'La Belle Dame sans Merci', based upon your study of D'avanzo's 'A poem about Poetry and Imagination: La Belle Dame sans Merci'. Consider your own views as well as extracts from the text. The difficult aspect of reading D'avanzo's text was putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. Like a jigsaw, it is only once you manage to fit it all together that you can come to an informed view of the whole picture. Also, each section or point is not able to stand by itself. All the parts interlock and must be thought of as a single entity to understand the analysis made by D'avanzo. However, after several re-readings, I now feel able to tackle a critical analysis of my own, augmented by what he has raised in his article. I will attempt to convey a full understanding of both D'avanzo's article and Keats' poem. I feel the challenge in writing this essay is to do so in a way that is not disjointed. A strangely appealing aspect of 'La Belle Dame' is that Keats began the poem with the end of a story. In this respect is similar to modern "Who done it?" ...read more.

Middle

She becomes in this poem the female presider of poetry. (D'avanzo on La Belle Dame sans Merci) There are several points to be taken from this passage. The first and most important one is what Mario has made of La Belle Dame. Keats' preoccupation with the imagination is personified and embodied in this lady. Secondly, D'avanzo says that Apollo's hair is associated with controlling the imagination. I feel it necessary to comment further on Keats' own fascination with imagination. He thought it to be impossible to fully harness this God-given (Apollo-given) ability to write most excellent poems. It is something very special to him, and something I feel he was not so much preoccupied with, as obsessed. This indescribable beauty is irresistible to man, and he feels compelled to control it. The imagination's power is displayed through this lady, as she seduces the knight-at-arms. He is made to carry out tasks for her, and in return she will remain with him longer. In my opinion what Keats is saying here is that to 'meet' the imagination, you must be diligent in your commitment to poetry, give it your undivided attention and even then it may be by chance that you manage to catch a glimpse of it. ...read more.

Conclusion

People bring it to his attention that he was a captive of La Belle Dame, in slavery to her. He then closes by saying this Is the reason why he canot bring himself to leave. He loiters alone. Again we hear this fantastic line, which describes a lack of harmony, a lack of normality, and a subdued state of nature: And no birds sing. In conclusion, I personally found this to be a dark poem, and somewhat depressing in that my pity went out to Keats, who continues to serve poetry, even though he believes the imagination that he so craves is unobtainable. It is one of the better Keats poems I have read, and I should think if I had written such a work I would indeed be extremely proud. His combination of descriptions and layout, of metaphors, similes and tone, is unlike any other. As regards Mario D'avanzo, without his insight I do not think I could have understood this poem to its fullest. That is what gave me pleasure as a reader, to comprehend an artist and follow his path, as it gave me the opportunity to override the limitations of time and connect with one of the great English poets, John Keats. ...read more.

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