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

    Keats develops the introduction by describing the Beadsman and his actions. "Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees, And back, returneth, meagre, barefoot and wan," The Beadsman is poor; he has no shoes, and he is thin, ill and old.

  2. Keats' popularity stems from his ability to engage the senses and take us away ...

    In 'On first looking into Chapman's Homer' Keats is exploring the human mind through ideas and the world through poetry. This is the reason he refers to Greek mythology, such as Apollo, the god of poetry. The sestet reveals Keats' understanding and amazement within the theme of discovery.

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

    Stanza four introduces a new scene (as if the urn were being turned round). The first scene was wild and ecstatic, suggesting Bacchanalian rites; this one is serene in comparison, showing a formal procession to make sacrifice. The almost frenzied questions of stanza one contrast sounds are suggestive of tranquility.

  2. From your reading so far what seems to be Keats's chief strengths and preoccupations?

    Keats picked up more of the Huntian style than his immature poetry could carry. On the other hand, Keats was an ardent admirer of William Shakespeare. Like Keats Shakespeare was an ordinary man whose poetic gift was at odds with his station in life and after an initial bout of

  1. How does Keats combine the sensuous and the sexual in stanza’s 25 And 26?

    Firstly it has appeals to your senses because you can imagine the way she frees her hair. Secondly, when a woman frees her hair it is a sign of sexual readiness. In this case she is undressing and getting ready to see her future husband in her dreams.

  2. Discuss The Attitudes Towards Death In Some Of The Poems That You Have Studied.

    The women in the poem, made the knight happy, and how ever hard he tried he could not escape her, she made his life a wonder to live. Death is the same, it is inevitable, and nobody can escape it, it can not be avoided, and so can be seen as a metaphor.

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

    Dating back to the Greek choral songs, the ode has appeared in many centuries over the world. Roman poets such as Catullus took the form of poetry to their own meaning. The ode was generally used to express strong emotions that flooded the poets mind at the time, the poet

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

    Stanza 3 in the last stanza, and is about the end, and moving on to winter and death. There are lots of references to death throughout this stanza, "soft dying days". This contrasts with stanza one, which was all about life.

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