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

In 1959 Douglas Bush described 'The Eve of St Agnes' as "no more than a romantic tapestry of colour". Do you agree

Extracts from this document...


In 1959 Douglas Bush described 'The Eve of St Agnes' as "no more than a romantic tapestry of colour". Do you agree? St. Agnes, the patron saint of virgins, die a martyr in fourth century Rome. She was condemned to be executed after being raped all night in a brothel; however a miraculous storm saved her from rape - the 21 January, St. Agnes Day. Keats told in his poem of the superstition that a girl could see her future husband in a dream if she performed certain rituals on the eve of St. Agnes; if she went to bed without looking behind her and lay on her back with her hands under her head, he would appear in her dream, kiss her, and then feast with her. ...read more.


In contrast, however, the beadsman is very much living in reality. He faces the cold, cruel world outside, "Numb were the beadsman's fingers, while he told/His rosary, and while his frosted breath," The beadsman almost knows of his upcoming death and so does not bother to join in the feasting with the others, instead he sits alone and prays for his soul. This contrast with the beadsman and the two lovers, gives the poem another depth to its appearance of a beautiful love story. More hidden depths to the poem proving it is not just a colourful tapestry is that Porphyro was the archetypal hero of the time, although his presentation can be interpreted today as being something of a villain; Madeline being the deluded victim in Porphyro's scheming and plotting. ...read more.


The beadsman is also facing reality unlike the two lovers, he is in the sad and cold trying to pray for his sins before he dies, whereas the lovers are upstairs being sinful yet happy. This may have been a reflection upon the ineffectiveness of religion from Keats, creating another hidden meaning to his poem. Many have seen this poem as just a beautiful poem and read no more into the meanings and the depths Keats has excruciatingly taken time to create, that is why critics can easily say such things as Douglas Bush and Jack Sillenger, however there are those that will agree that there are hidden agenda's within this poem, such as that of M. R. Ridley, another editor of Keats' letters, who states, that 'The Eve of St. Agnes' is "not far short of perfection." ...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. Compare how nature is presented in two Romantic Poems

    This is also used to show how the skylark defeats mere mortality, which is helped by the short verses. 'To Autumn', on the other hand, is much slower helped by the fact that the verses are much longer than those in 'To a Skylark'.

  2. 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.

  1. How far do you agree with the views that 'Eve of St. Agnes' shows ...

    Keats uses sensuous descriptiveness in large amounts to create the desired affect of conjuring an image in the reader's mind. He uses this rather than merely state the contents of the feast, as this would not help engage the reader as his sensuous style of description does.

  2. Rousseau stated that 'I felt before I thought' captured the spirit of the Romantic ...

    with pain, sorrow and delight; emotions clearly intertwined with Keats' experiences of life, in particular love and death. Keats had long suspected that he himself had tuberculosis, and it was during a visit to Winchester in 1819 that he wrote possibly his greatest ode 'To Autumn'.

  1. Romantic Poetry - I am trying to ascertain whether 2 certain poems fall in ...

    To further prove my point I will analyze two of the poems we have been reading and show how they reflect upon these definitions I have shown. The first poem I will be looking at is "To a Skylark" by Percy Shelley.

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

    Keats's second book, Endymion, was published in 1818. Based upon the myth of Endymion and the moon goddess, it was attacked by two of the most influential critical magazines of the time, the Quarterly Review and Blackwood's Magazine. Calling the romantic verse of Hunt's literary circle "the Cockney school of poetry," Blackwood's declared Endymion to be nonsense and recommended that Keats give up poetry.

  1. The two poems I have chosen to look at are the extract of Summer: ...

    The ode is a very formal style. The poet almost perfectly follows the decided rhyme scheme, through all three stanza's. He uses iambic pentametre to follow the traditional formality of an ode. He occasionally uses enjambment to change the rhythm as he desires, and half rhymes to keep the context of the poem, but he never sacrifices its rigid formality.

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

    Keats then goes on to describe Madeline's piety as she kneels to pray 'for heaven's grace'. Keats often emphasises her holiness to reflect Porphyro's perversity and almost sacrilege, as he gazes with a lusty eye upon such a pure, innocent girl.

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