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How do the Poets Portray the Theme of Love in the Poems you have studied?'La Belle Dame Sans Merci', by John Keats, 'To His Coy Mistress', by Andrew Marvell and finally 'The Beggar Women' by William King.

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Introduction

How do the Poets Portray the Theme of Love in the Poems you have studied? As you may already have known, the date 1914 relates back to the beginning of the First World War. Therefore, the poetry in this essay will be from the years preceding the war. Before World War One, all poetry had a tight structure and used the traditional verse forms. Pre 1914 poets also had the skill to carefully craft and pattern their poems to perfection as well as usually adding rhyme to the poem. During the years before the war, women in the society had a very hard life. Women were expected to stay at home to cook, clean and look after the children. To add to that, women also did not have many rights. Women were unable to get divorces unless the man wanted a divorce and women were also not allowed to vote. Only a minority of women actually got high paid jobs as women were thought to be right at the bottom of the social hierarchy. However, looking back in hindsight, World War One changed many of the publics' views towards women as women worked tirelessly to complete the jobs of the men who had gone to war. The three poems which I am going to go into detail with during the essay are; 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci', by John Keats, 'To His Coy Mistress', by Andrew Marvell and finally 'The Beggar Women' by William King. 'To His Coy Mistress' is a very romantic poem and shows a man having respect for the woman and her needs, which is very unusual as many men disrespected women during the years before the war. The poem has got a strong link to seduction as the man in the poem tries his best to persuade the woman in the poem that he loves her and that the two should make love before it is too late. ...read more.

Middle

'The sedge has wither'd from the lake.' This extract gives the idea of the sedge and lake splitting up and this resembles the knight and how he is alone and away from other humans. The word 'wither'd also suggests something has died and in this case, it is the inside of the knight. The knight seems to have no role in life and just wonders aimlessly without a sole through nature. In this case, the knight is being compared to nature, which is unusual as knights are seen as heroes and noble men. This suggests that this knight is not like normal knights. To add to that, there is also the image of 'no birds sing' which is unusual as it is usually birds chirping which make people happy when they are sad and so if no birds are singing it suggests a dark and bad atmosphere and releases negative vibes. I think the poet used this image to suggest that the environment around the knight is abnormal which gives the idea that the knight is not normal. To add to that, John Keats also uses the image of death during the poem as he wrote; 'I see a lily on thy brow...' This suggests death as the lily is the flower associated with death. The fact that the lily is on the knights eyebrow is bringing across the idea that the knight is dying as he has a lily on him. I think that John Keats used this image in order to tell the reader the knight is dying. Another image used by the author is of a fairy's child when the knight first views the woman he loves. '...full beautiful - a faery's child...' This suggests the woman he has seen is beautiful and one of the most beautiful people he has ever seen. This is a contrast from the knight himself, as the knight was 'haggard' and close to death, whereas the woman is beautiful and elegant. ...read more.

Conclusion

'To bear you children wearing out my life In drudgery and silence.' Enjambment has been used by Christina Walsh in order to give the same effect that the author of 'The Beggar Woman' wanted to portray. 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' portrays the theme of love from an unusual viewpoint. During the poem, love changed the knight from being negative and dull to being positive and full of light. Once the knight had fallen in love he began to show emotions and feelings and was a changed man. However, during the poem love is portrayed as something that hurts people, as the woman did not share the love the knight had for her and used him. John Keats shows love as a wonderful feeling that changes people, but can also be the worst feeling in the world. 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell has got a different take on the theme of love. Andrew Marvell links love to time and writes about how love should not be something that waits, but is an on the spot decision which has to be taken. Andrew Marvell portrays love as something that should not be wasted, but taken advantage of. 'The Beggar Woman' by William King portrays love as being meaningless, as the woman leaves her child with a stranger. This shows she has got no love for her child which is very unusual. William King portrays love as being worthless. I believe 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' is the most powerful poem as it shows the two effects love can have on a person. The poem gives the view of how love can change people for the better, but also shows the other side in which love hurts people, as the man was just used by the woman he loved. Overall, this is my favourite poem of the three, although all poems are well written and portray the theme of love in interesting and different ways. ?? ?? ?? ?? Balraj Singh 11BCC 1 ...read more.

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