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Analysis of When I Have Fears by John Keats

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John Keats has written the poem 'When I Have Fears' to express one of the most ineluctable feelings that one can have; the fear of death. "When I Have Fears" represents the admire and hunger for greater poetry, and wish for realizing the dreams of love and fame: selfish desire of human-being. Thus, what poet fears is being unable to fulfill his dreams. The title 'When I Have Fears' is also quite clue-giving: Keats fears the time he will die will come, although what he fears most is what he would leave behind when he died: love, fame and composing new poetry. He fears not being able to live and experience the honorable moments of life. (It is known that Keats had experienced much loss as a boy; also he died very young, at age of 26). As in a typical sonnet, this main theme is developed through all quatrains of the poem. Writing in an informal manner, the poet does not spesifically adress to someone, but to whom also reader can emphatize. The purpose of the author could be figured out by the reader: To express and share a pained mood. Therefore, the poet uses direct speech in order to create a sincere, sharing atmosphere with the reader. ...read more.


While Keats uses a vocabulary that could apply to a mortal woman, he could mean an imagined vision of a godlike being: "And when I feel, a fair creature of an hour! That I shall never look upon thee more".'A fair creature' could be telling about a real woman, (in many of Keats' biographies it was declared so, even some say it could be representing his fiancee) although the connotations of the following line may suggest that it is a symbol of divine love.: "Never have I relish the faery power of unreflecting love!". 'The faery power' appears as the spiritual power of a divine love, but not a mortal one. The love Keats wishes to enjoy would be represented directly; it is the 'unreflecting' love of God: By the time he tastes the love of the Holy, he will not ever be seeking for any other experience of love. Nevertheless, Keats' many poems are directly or indirectly related to inner conflicts of human, he often associates love and pain, the opposite sides, in his poetry. Likewise, in 'When I Have Fears' the poet changes his mind as he resolves his fears by asserting the unimportance, worthlessness of love and fame in the couplet. He suddenly returns to the rather unexciting "shore of the wide world", where he is on the edge of life and ...read more.


Sonnets, traditionally have three rhyme sounds in the octave; one of the first two rhyme sounds repeats in the second quatrain. Here the vowel rhyme "romance' and "chance" in the second quatrain are similar to "brain' and 'grain" in the first quatrain as the "n" sounds are alike. The poem has the classical pattern in rhyme, a typical property of a sonnet: A-B-A-B, C-D-C-D... in the three quatrains, until the couplet which rhymes G-G. It's an End Rhyme which is a true rhyme; the sounds are very much alike: In the first and third lines, there is a half rhyme, that refers to words with similar sounds(be - charact'ry). Moreover, brain and grain also rhyme with more alike sounds.: When I have fears that I may cease to be A Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain B Before high-piled books, in charact'ry A Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain; B The second and third quatrains are also written in a very much similar way of rhyme scheme of the first quatrain. Though, in the couplet the rhyming of the two lines are different. Of the wide world I stand alone, and think, G Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink. G The monosyllabled verbs 'think' and 'sink' rhyme in order to provide an attractive ending at the end of the poem, while the deepest emotions are shared and resolved : 'When I Have Fears?'. ...read more.

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