Close Reading Assignment: John Keats: “On Fame”
John Keats talks about fame and the desire of people to posses it. He compares fame to a woman and the desire of people for fame is compared to men’s lust to women. John Keats as the speaker presents an “as matter-of-fact” tone. The speaker gives the reader a sense of knowledge about what fame is. He seems to know what he’s talking about and it seems like he’s giving a lecture about it. The speaker achieves this tone by his elaborate comparison between fame and women and people’s desire of fame to men’s lust to women. The poem’s first four lines were clear resemblance of fame and women. The speaker parallels fame to a “wayward girl”, saying that fame is like an unpredictable girl. Women are known to be indecisive and difficult to control. In the same line he also describes fame as coy and that it will not come to those who seek her favor but will delight someone who she pleases and someone who she thinks is humble. Keats also compares fame to a gypsy. In line five, he claims that fame is like a gypsy and that it will not come to those people who are not content with their lives and who seeks her constantly. The comparison of fame to a gypsy is justifiable since a gypsy is someone who settles for nothing and no one in particular. They are nomads and just like fame, they do not last forever to someone. Fame is like a woman who does not want to be pursued; she comes to you when you do not pursue her. Towards the ending of the poem, the speaker discusses, this time, the similarity of people’s desire for fame to men’s lust for women. In line eleven, he calls men as “love – sick bards” and “artists lovelorn”. Keats argues that men are love – sick bastards, just how they are love – sick for women, they are love – sick for fame. Men are lovelorn, because they pursue fame but ended up getting nothing in return and that’s what makes them like madmen: crazy for fame.
In the end of the poem, Keats advices men to make...
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