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la belle dame sans merci- poetic inspiration or negative female stereotypes?
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LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI
Question: Is 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' a poem about negative female stereotypes or about poetic creation and poetic sensibility?
'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' is written in ballad form. Typically the ballad is dramatic, condensed and impersonal: the narrator begins with the climactic episode, tells the story curtly by means of action or in this case by means of dialogue alone. It is told without self reference or the expression of personal attitudes and feelings. Keats does not differ here. Ballads also employ set formulas including stock descriptive phrases like 'blood-red wine' and 'milk-white steed'. There is a refrain in each stanza and incremental repetition. Keats differs slightly in the ballad stanza format making the last line of each stanza shorter than the others.
'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' literally means- 'beautiful woman without pity'. It is, on the surface, a simple story describing the ill fate of a knight-at-arms. By the very name of the ballad people can deem is to be about negative female stereotypes. But on the other hand one can see the knight as a poet that finds poetic inspiration- symbolised in the figure
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