La Belle Dame Sans Essay

937 Words4 Pages
The Story The poet meets a knight by a woodland lake in late autumn. The man has been there for a long time, and is evidently dying. The knight says he met a beautiful, wild-looking woman in a meadow. He visited with her, and decked her with flowers. She did not speak, but looked and sighed as if she loved him. He gave her his horse to ride, and he walked beside them. He saw nothing but her, because she leaned over in his face and sang a mysterious song. She spoke a language he could not understand, but he was confident she said she loved him. He kissed her to sleep, and fell asleep himself. He dreamed of a host of kings, princes, and warriors, all pale as death. They shouted a terrible warning -- they were the woman's slaves. And now he was her slave, too. Awakening, the woman was gone, and the knight was left on the cold hillside. INTRODUCTION John Keats's major works do not focus on religion, ethics, morals, or politics. He mostly just writes about sensations and experiencing the richness of life. TO AUTUMN is richly sensual, and contrasts the joys of autumn to the more-poetized joys of spring. Keats was dying at the time, and as in "La Belle Dame Sans Merci", Keats is probably describing, on one level, his own final illness -- a time of completion, consummation, and peace. CONTENT Keats focuses on how experiencing beauty gives meaning and value to life. In "La Belle Dame Sans Merci", Keats seems to be telling us about something that may have happened, or may happen someday, to you. You discover something that you think you really like. You don't really understand it, but you're sure it's the best thing that's ever happened to you. You are thrilled. You focus on it. You give in to the beauty and richness and pleasure, and let it overwhelm you. Then the pleasure is gone. Far more than a normal letdown, the experience has left you crippled emotionally.
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