As a poem so centrally about the role of women, a feminist perspective for this poem is almost inescapable. While on the surface the creation of “bracelets” and “garlands” appear to symbolise kindness and love towards the “faery”, when considering the poem in the context of 19th century attitudes to power, it seems more logical that they are to bind and capture her. Keats’ description of her use of “language strange” represents the woman as something “other”, implying women are “essentially different” in character than men. This essay has been submitted by a student. It is John Keats’s finest ballad in English literature. The knight has clearly made the Belle Dame his possession, in telling us he “set her of my pacing steed” it is clear that La Belle has little control and it is arguable that in concurrence with Millet’s theory, the lady is being exploited for her “full beauty” to allow the knight to feel a sense of masculine control. However, Romantic context must be considered here – while the poem may initially appear as a “warning” against female power and the readers are undoubtedly supposed to feel sympathy for the male, it could be interpreted as a reminder of medieval chivalry. Furthermore, Theresa M Kelley argues that “Her (the faery’s) otherness is a provocative…reply to Keats’s early critics, the belle dame makes this reception history part of her meaning” further supporting the argument that the context of the poem is able to explain the seemingly anti-feminist aspects. However, the question of the ambiguity surrounding the tears has been contested amongst critics who do not take a feminist perspective, it could be argued that the tears in fact represent the guilt of the Belle Dame – the plot devise of the dream implies this is not the first time she has left a man she promised to “love”, and she is already mourning the destruction of the knight. Some feminist critics may look at the link between the “faery” and nature when looking at the gifts of “roots of relish sweet” and “honey wild and manna dew”, commenting on how nature was feminised in the early 19th century as having the same qualities of women; graceful, weak, simple and of course, “beautiful”. October 27, 2011. Even then critical … ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ is one of the finest ballads of art in English poetry. The repetition of comments on the mysterious woman’s “wild wild eyes” acts as a warning to the “knight at arms” of the evil seduction power of this woman, and the destruction this could cause. You can order Unique paper and our professionals Rewrite it for you. It could be argued that the meaning of the Belle Dame is more an exaggerated parody in reply to criticism stating Keats’ earlier works were too simple rather than an allegorical representation against all women. This idea is reflected throughout the poem when looking from a feminist perspective, and would therefore suggest such a perspective is very helpful in understanding the ambiguities surrounding male power. Between 1818 and 1819, the most fertile period of his life, he fell in love with his ‘Bright Star’ Fanny Brawne, and produced his six famous odes, and such great narrative poems as ‘Isabella, or The Pot of Basil’, ‘The Eve of St Agnes’, ‘Hyperion’, ‘Lamia’, and ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’. The Sexuality and Population debate is conspicuous in the plot of the novel The Romance of a Shop by Amy Levy. The title of the poem, ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ is in French and it means the beautiful lady without mercy. So too, in […], Lord of the Flies ends on a bleak note in order to emphasize the recurring theme throughout the novel: the idea that every human contains the beast within him/herself. (Schulkins, 2016:68). The knight has clearly made the Belle Dame his possession, in telling us he “set her of my pacing steed” it is clear that La Belle has little control and it is arguable that in concurrence with Millet’s theory, the lady is being exploited for her “full beauty” to allow the knight to feel a sense of masculine control. The use of archaic language such as “withereth” and “hath” do imply Keats is making an explicit point of being purposely exaggeratory. It could be argued that the meaning of the Belle Dame is more an exaggerated parody in reply to criticism stating Keats’ earlier works were too simple rather than an allegorical representation against all women. The poem uses natural symbols to indicate a time of ending, decline, and death. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy. Find some other examples of "fatal women" in English poetry. 1 Pre-Raphaelite Art, State Art Galleries of Australia, 1962 and The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle in the National Gallery of Victoria, 1978. However, readers should not get too engrossed in the idea that the Belle Dame is an evil force representing all women. This form, having been revived by Romantic poets, creates a haunting, portentous effect throughout the poem, foreshadowing the “woe” that is to follow. Essays for La Belle Dame sans Merci. It is composed in the spring of 1819, is an exquisite ballad, recapturing, as it does, the simplicity, the spontaneity, the directness, the vividness, and the graphic force of the ancient models. This resource is perfect for A-level students studying select poems (Isabella, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, The Eve of St Agnes and Lamia) by John Keats in their curriculum. 3. Home — Essay Samples — Literature — Poetry — Criticism leading to the truth. Keats wrote a revised version of "La Belle Dame sans Merci." It would have been demanding to expect a 19th century male audience to conceptualise feminine power as a positive when the ideal was of the pure and dependent woman, indicating that the intent of Keats when using said supernatural imagery was to portray anything other than this ideal expectation as dangerous. This remarkable baIllad written by John Keats, narrates the fascinating story of a mortal’s love with fairy. However, Romantic context must be considered here – while the poem may initially appear as a “warning” against female power and the readers are undoubtedly supposed to feel sympathy for the male, it could be interpreted as a reminder of medieval chivalry. La Belle Dame Sans Merci is a French phrase meaning The Lady Without Mercy. In a sense of romantic irrationality, he wants and needs to believe he is loved. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/a-feminist-reading-of-john-keats-la-belle-dame-sans-merci/, Recieve 100% plagiarism-Free paper just for 4.99$ on email, *Public papers are open and may contain not unique content. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again. Hence, when the couple get to the supernatural seeming “elfin grot”, we are told how the faery “wept, and sigh’d fill sore” – she does not want to be there. In particular, […], Even today, with literature constantly crossing more lines and becoming more shocking, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin remains one of the most scandalous, controversial, and powerful literary works ever […], Mill’s “On Liberty” is an academic work examining the presence of –and desire for- liberty in human nature and behavior, as well as the limits imposed upon such. A Feminist Reading of John Keats’ “La Belle Dame Sans Merci… "La Belle Dame sans Merci" is one of Keats's most beloved poems and one of the few important works that seems to evade the kind of critical argumentation invoked by the odes and long poems. Introduction - La Belle Dame sans Merci is one of the greatest poems composed by the renowned second generation romantic poet John Keats. An unidentified passerby asks the knight what is wrong (stanzas I-III). Furthermore, it could instead be argued that rather than connecting women to nature, these gifts encompass an element of suspicion – there are indications in the poem that these natural gifts are in fact drugs, twisting the mind and perspective of the “knight”. Critical Commentry on John Keats' ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’. This distinction in language creates further mistrust of the speaker, emphasising the communication barrier between men and women and the 19th century context of women being given no voice. Le Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats is a narrative poem which means the beautiful lady without mercy. Feminist critics could point towards the question of to what extent the speaker can be trusted when telling the passing stranger of the supernatural temptress who destroyed him and left him full of “anguish”. In conclusion, reading La Belle Dame Sans Merci from a feminist perspective leads to many interesting interpretations of the text itself and also helps readers to understand the context of 19th century gender roles. "The Romantic period isn't just about love stories – it was a political and social movement as well as a literary one. If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. The document is complete with critics’ analysis of the poem Isabella. To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below: Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. Feminist critics could point towards the question of to what extent the speaker can be trusted when telling the passing stranger of the supernatural temptress who destroyed him and left him full of “anguish”. Feminist critics have argued that in addition to the form, Keats uses of the motif of supernatural imagery to warn the reader of the power of women. While telling us how she “look’d at me as she did love” and said “I love thee true” which would imply the Belle Dame truly is treacherous, we are also told she said so in “language strange” creating a sense of ambiguity surrounding the extent to which the knight has warped the truth. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in settings. While telling us how she “look’d at me as she did love” and said “I love thee true” which would imply the Belle Dame truly is treacherous, we are also told she said so in “language strange” creating a sense of ambiguity surrounding the extent to which the knight has warped the truth. However, the motif of supernatural imagery in the poem complicates this concept, indicating that in reality, love is complex. Feminist critics question how the “faery child” is represented to the reader, focusing on power relations and why this is significant when considering the social context of the 19th Century. In a sense of romantic irrationality, he wants and needs to believe he is loved. Keats’ La Belle takes the form of a traditional medieval ballad with 12 quatrains alternating in iambic tetrameter and trimeter lines and a rhyme scheme written in ABCB. Are you interested in getting a customized paper? “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”, or in translation, “the beautiful lady without pity” is a phrase appropriated by John Keats as the title of his 1820 poem depicting the story of a seductive and deceitful woman who tempts men away from the world of masculinity and then leaves them with a life in ruin. 2020 © gradesfixer.com. In La Belle Dame Sans Merci Keats not only reproduces the medieval pomp and chivalry, but also creates the typical medieval atmosphere of enchantment and marvel. We’ve got you covered. Pssst… While it can be argued that a feminist reading is extremely useful in portraying the allegorical meaning of the character’s representation as a woman, recent criticism has questioned the extent to which this allegory holds truth. Feminist critics have argued that in addition to the form, Keats uses of the motif of supernatural imagery to warn the reader of the power of women. “La Belle Dame,” a compact ballad, is wound as tightly as a fuse. Kate Millet’s Sexual Politics examined male characters in classic works similar to Keats’ La Belle and found that male characters were “denigrating, exploitative and repressive in their relationships with women”. […], A caterpillar must crawl, inch by inch, across the earth before it can mature, grow wings, and soar beautifully above the land in which it was born. Feminist critics question how the “faery child” is represented to the reader, focusing on power relations and why this is significant when considering the social context of the 19th Century. Feminist critics find this unacceptable, arguing that differences between men and women should be looked at as socially constructed and it is therefore more of a necessity than simply helpful to criticise La Belle from a feminist perspective in order to challenge gender roles. "La Belle Dame sans Merci" seems easy to understand at the narrative level. Want us to write one just for you? La Belle Dame sans Merci essays are academic essays for citation. Keats uses the so-called ballad stanza, a quatrain in alternating iambic tetrameter and trimeter lines. To read the poem from a feminist perspective forces the reader to ignore the context, and is therefore unhelpful. Wikimedia Commons has media related to La Belle Dame sans Merci. Typical of critics' magnanimity toward the ballad is T. Hall Caine's 1882 assessment of … This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. la belle dame sans merci summary in English class 12 ncert book alternative English with complete la belle dame sans merci questions and answers.Here you get the critical analysis or explanation and textual, comprehension ncert solution of this poem written by John Keats. 2. Neither Black Nor White: The Complex Concept of Freedom in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, The Theme of the Haunting Past Chapter IV of The Moonstone, The Relationship between the Liberty of Thought and Discussion and Liberty in General, Uncle Tom’s Cabin: A Groundbreaking American Social Protest Novel, Contrasting American and European Responses to WWI in In Another Country, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Held at Gunpoint, Sexuality and Population: Female Agency in The Romance of a Shop, Romeo and Juliet: Under the Guise of Love, A Feminist Reading of John Keats’ “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”. “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”, or in translation, “the beautiful lady without pity” is a phrase appropriated by John Keats as the title of his 1820 poem depicting the story of a seductive and deceitful woman who tempts men away from the world of masculinity and then leaves them with a life in ruin. In thrall several sets of symbols to convey critical tone and meaning in La... 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