Beauty and Evil Are Never Far Apart in Keats's Poetry” How Far Do You Agree with This View?

Topics: La Belle Dame sans Merci, Love, John Keats Pages: 4 (1475 words) Published: November 13, 2008
Beauty and Evil are never far apart in Keats's poetry” how far do you agree with this view?

“She seem’d, at once, some penanced lady elf, Some demon’s mistress, or the demon’s self.” Beauty and evil cannot come much closer than when being in the same quote, and much of Keats’s work is pockmarked with references to these two seemingly unrelated conditions, and I feel is notable, if not key, to much of Keats’s work. In a way it could be said to symbolise Keats’s “bitter-sweet melancholy”; the idea which all the Romantics referenced, and which Keats literally lived, with the fact that he had just met the love of his life, and was just coming to prominence, but at the same time would soon be claimed by tuberculosis. The beauty of his work, and his perceived beauty of Fanny Brawne, verses the evil of his disease would be praying heavily on his mind and as such it was an inevitability that it would percolate through to his work.

Lamia is an epic tale, told in iambic heroic verse, using couplets, with the occasional triplet and alexandrine thrown in for good measure. It deals with the dancers and frivolity inherent in the world of dream, or more specifically the danger in ones total surrender to feeling. It could also be said that the poem is about the death of illusion and a doomed attempt to find love. The main beauty and evil conflict here is based on the female, or more specifically the female form. We are shown how the beauty of a female, along with her other feminine wiles, can bewitch almost anyone, and lull them into a dreamlike state. However on the other hand this can be seen as manipulation and specifically to Lamia her beautiful form is deceitful and almost ill-gotten. It begins in the idealised Arcadian forests around the shores of Crete when we first meet Lamia before she is even human. The description of Lamia as being “vermillion, golden, green and blue” and “striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard” to say the least paints fantastic image of what...
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