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La Belle Dame Sans Merci

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Introduction

Look again at the poet's description of their loved one in 'Shall I compare thee?' Compare this with another poet's description of their loved on in one of the other poems from the pre-1914 selection. La Belle Dame Sans Merci I will compare the sonnet 'Shall I compare thee?' written by William Shakespeare to the ballad 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' written by John Keats. I have chosen to compare these two poems as they share various themes and contain differences too. 'Shall I compare thee' celebrates the beauty of the mans beloved. The poem shows that the poet wants the beauty to last forever and that in fact it will. 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' is about a lady who is supernatural and holds a strange power over the knight and other strong men. ...read more.

Middle

"her eyes were wild." The message of the poem is that even the strongest knight in the land can be destroyed by love. The woman was beautiful and supernatural yet the dream turned bad and ended and the woman was not as she had seemed. 'Shall I compare thee' uses various techniques. Summer and the sun are personified in line four. In line five a metaphor is used to describe the sun; "Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines." Another metaphor is used in line nine which describes the woman's beauty. Line eleven personifies death and line thirteen and fourteen use repetition to emphasise the poets point. 'Shall I compare thee' is a sonnet in the traditional form of Shakespeare's sonnets which use iambic pentameter. Iambic pentameter creates the feel of the heart beat of love. ...read more.

Conclusion

'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' is a ballad with twelve stanzas which each comprise of four lines; a quatrain. The rhyming scheme is ABCB. Both poems share similarities and differences in their techniques. They use personification, metaphors and similes throughout the poem often to emphasise the message of love and beauty. Much repetition is also used in both poems again emphasising the point of each poem. However each poem has a different structure and therefore this changes the tone of the poem completely and the way in which it is read. In conclusion although there are rather a few differences between 'Shall I compare thee' and 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' there are more significant similarities. Both poems describe their loved ones as perfect and have the same perception of their woman. Yet one poem describes appearance of love and one describes feelings of love. Overall both women are beautiful and one woman's beauty is kept alive through literature, the other woman's beauty is kept alive through a dream. ...read more.

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