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

How far do you agree with the views that 'Eve of St. Agnes' shows Keats at his best?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How far do you agree with the views that 'Eve of St. Agnes' shows Keats at his best? * Explore poetic techniques * Sublimation. It is widely recognised by many critics that Keats is a sensuous poet, as many of his poems reflect his ability to engage the reader into the poem by his use of 'sensual imagery and synaesthetic richness'. His descriptive use of language and poetical devices reveal his sensuous nature and his ability to convey to the reader his own feelings effectively. This added ability increases the depth of his communication with the reader and engages the reader to perceive the same perspective as Keats himself, known as sublimation. In 'Eve of St. Agnes', sensuous language is used throughout, helping construct a picture in the reader's mind. The tendency of descriptiveness is formally encouraged by Keats' choice of structure, the Spenserian stanza, which contains eight lines of iambic pentameter and a final alexandrine. The style in which Keats has decided to write this poem, to contain so much description, has resulted to everything contributing to the isolation of the central figures. The way in which Keats' describes the scenes and the method and techniques used are through the use of sensuous language. The poem is loaded with descriptive detail, evocation of the atmosphere of the medieval castle and architectural fancies. ...read more.

Middle

The immediate sense of coldness results in the reader feeling uncomfortable but this soon strongly contrasts with the brilliantly illuminated interior where revelry is about to commence, which is appealing to the reader and therefore helps the reader feel more at ease. Later on, the coldness is also contrasted with the warmth created in Porphyro's heart, due to his admiration towards Madeline, 'with heart on fire for Madeline.' Even further on in the poem, cold is once again used as a contrast, to the sumptuous offerings to Madeline, whose description 'carries association of warmth' containing modifiers such as, 'glowing', 'golden' and 'sumptuous'. Another contrast included in the poem is the binary opposition created between the old age of the Beadsman and Beldame and the youth of Porphyro and Madeline. At the end of the poem the two lovers flee to a 'new life', yet the Beadsman and Angela the Beldame were linked to death from their first introductions, 'already had his death bell rung' and she was 'weak in body and in soul'. There are many more contrasts in the poem, all contributing to Keats' ability to involve the reader in his portrayal of the story. More contrasts that have been acknowledged by many critics are; the noise and revelry of the feasters in the castle, against the calm and quiet of Madeline's room; the snarling trumpets which welcome the guests against the tender chords of the lutes; the contrast of dream and reality; the Beldame's fear and panic of being found is contrasted against the relaxed attitude of Porphyro's in Stanza XI. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the 'Twentieth Century Interpretation of Keats' Odes', Jack Stillinger believes that many of Keats' poems "begin in the real world, take off in mental flight to visit the ideal but finds something wanting in the imagined ideal, so returns home to the real but has acquired a better understanding and attitude from the experience of flight." I can identify with Stillinger's belief in the case of 'Eve of St. Agnes', as the concluding stanza can be seen to puncture the world of make believe distancing the reader form events, as it the leaving of the lovers is not a flight into a glamorous never-never land, but a step into the coldly real. It is also argued that a distance has always been subtly maintained throughout the poem by the narrator's tone, creating a tension between scepticism and the will to believe, between dream and reality, the spiritual and the physical and the ambiguous nature of love. I believe that due to the extensive range of poetic techniques used throughout this poem and Keats' ability to use sublimation, influencing the reader's perception of the situation, this poem is a fine example of Keats at his best. Keats recognises the importance of the imagination and emphasises the contrast, that although the imagination can 'create an escape from reality', it may also 'aid the imaginative vision to transcend the human condition'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Keats 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 GCSE John Keats essays

  1. Pain is an integral part of Keats vision of the world - A delight ...

    For example in Keen, fitful gusts are whispring Keats explores nature in a strong and pessimistic way. Until the pivotal point at the end of the octet, nature is describes to be half-leafless, dead and rustling drearily, the autumn emphasises the negativity.

  2. Write an appreciation of 'The Eve of St. Agnes' as a narrative, Romantic poem… ...

    Note: "The Eve of St. Agnes" contains some references to "La belle dame sans merci". Keats's letters, praised by many critics as among the finest literary letters written in English, were published in their most complete form in 1931; a later edition appeared in 1960.

  1. The Ode is used as a poetic form for philosophical contemplation. Compare two ...

    The contradictory perceptions make the odes oxymoronic as they both want to be free but he has different means of achieving the liberty he seeks. During the second stanza of an Ode to a Nightingale, his first thought is to reach the bird's state through alcohol, because he longs for

  2. Rich Sensuousness, well-wrought form and depth of thought are characteristics of Keats poetry. By ...

    The poet helps us to understand what he has in mind. The pipes on the urn sound "not to the sensual ear" but "to the spirit". It is significant that Keats does not use a more literally precise word like "physical" to describe the ear.

  1. Write an appreciation of "The Eve of St Agnes" as a narrative Romantic poem.

    Where a Beadsman is praying in a small chapel. The emphasis on the bleak night is continued. "Numb were the Beadsman fingers" and " his frosted breath" show that the inside is almost frozen reinforcing the winter time at which this poem is set.

  2. Compare the Way in which the Romantic poet Keats presents paradox and contrast with ...

    'Ode to a Nightingale' is about love, death and escapism. It is the most personal of all his odes as he uses the pronoun 'my'. The words 'Love' and 'Death' are written in capitals as they are main aspects of his life, and are seen as negative.

  1. `A thing of beauty is a joy forever` - How far and in what ...

    Keats almost forces his subject at us. The central stanza is almost a `breathing space` for the reader, to interact with the poem. Keats creates a hypnotic mood almost lethargic. Keats achieves this through his language. The use of `carless` and `soft-lifted`. The alliteration of `winnowing winds` and the assonance of `sound asleep`, almost attack our aural

  2. The Eve of St. Agnesis built up of a series of deliberate contrasts. By ...

    As the previously harsh and cold winter moon shines into Madeline's bedroom, a previously described beautiful ornate casement transforms the cold blue light into 'warm gules', or deep, warm red. This gives the casement and Madeline's environment as a whole a sort of holy, warm and safe feeling, protected from the cold outside world.

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