La Belle Dame Sans Merci

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The poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats portrays a wandering soldier who meets a mythical woman in the meadow. The soldier quickly describes the fairy, "Full beautiful—a faery's child, Her hair was long, her foot was light, And her eyes were wild." The fairy leads the soldier to her cave which is described as an "elfin grot" where they acknowledge each other. In the elfin grot the fairy lulls him asleep. The soldier describes what he dreams of while asleep, "I saw pale kings and princes too, Pale warriors, death-pale were they all; They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci Hath thee in thrall!". Finally, the soldier awakes on the cold hill's side alone and palely loitering. John Keats's poem, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, has twelve stanzas which are all quatrains. Also, Keats uses a set rhyme scheme of ‘abcb' throughout the entire poem. Keats also uses very little alliteration and assonance just as he uses very little rhyming throughout the poem. "Her hair was long, her foot was light" (15); "And made sweet moan" (20) are examples of alliteration that Keats uses in the poem. "So haggard and so woe-begone?" (6) Is an example of assonance. In this ballad, John Keats uses repetition of first stanza at the end of the poem which makes it obvious that the soldier was alone at the beginning of the and at the end. The poem suggests that the soldier was unaware of his surroundings as he slipped into a state of unconscious. While in this state the soldier was in controlled by La Belle Dame sans Merci, The Beautiful Lady Without Pity. John Keats does a great portraying the fairy and the soldier in the poem. The poem leaves the reader wondering what actually happened to the soldier. Whether the soldier was dreaming the entire time or near his death Keats clearly made a point by the end of the poem.
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