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Compare the ways the poets have written about love, bringing out different aspects of the theme.

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anPre 1914 Poetry Unit Compare the ways the poets have written about love, bringing out different aspects of the theme. Love poetry has existed for centuries; it takes many forms ranging from Shakespeare's sonnets and dream visions from Chaucer to medieval ballads and feminist statements. As well as poetry, love comes in many forms as well. The main forms that we see in the poems are unrequited love, romantic love and possessive love. These poems that I will discuss are very varied, 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' is written by John Keats and it is in the form of a ballad. The next poem is 'My last Duchess' by Robert Browning, which gives an insight to possessive love. John Keats belongs to a group of poets called The Romantics who believed in respecting women and often spoke of the beauty of the middle ages. Keats writes the poem in the form of a ballad. He does this because many people at the time were illiterate and so because a ballad can be sung it became popular more easily and was a lot more accessible to many. ...read more.


The poem has a circular nature as it starts with a knight 'palely loitering', is then centred around two people apparently falling in love, followed by the knight again 'alone and palely loitering'. The fact that the poem is circular creates an atmosphere of the knight being trapped and encompassed by his love for the Faery. In the relationship between the knight and Faery the night is almost passive as the Faery 'lulled' him and 'took him to her elfin grot'. With the female character leading the male, we see her with all the power. The effects of the Faery not loving the man are very drastic and infer that, as a contrast to the stereotype in the medieval setting the man is weak whilst the woman is strong and dominant. The Faery child is a very dangerous character; she seduces the knight with exotic fruits like 'manna dew' and speaks in a 'strange language'. The way in which the Faery seduces the knight and then disposes of him, leaving him caught in her spell shows her immense power. ...read more.


As all Greek myths had an underlying story or message, in the case of the sirens it was a warning that women can be sly and manipulative towards men's sexual weaknesses. The story of the knight and the Faery conveys the same message, and displays how women are not necessarily weaker than men, contrary to the stereotype at the time. The love in this poem is described very negatively. As we see the man tortured by love and is left on 'a cold hill side', we see the very damaging effect love had on him, from this we could say that yes it was presented entirely negatively but it was not. In the middle of the poem we actually see blissful love as the man was blinded by the amazing love he felt for the woman, 'and nothing else saw all day long'. The next focus of my essay is the poem 'First Love' by John Clare. 'First Love' is strongly linked with 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci'; this is mainly because both are about the pains of unrequited love. Ones first love is always very memorable and important to them, the poem 'First Love' is surprisingly about that experience. The narrator is ...read more.

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