Title is French- The Language of Love. Title translates to: ‘The Beautiful Woman Without Mercy/Pity.’ The woman in the poem speaks French and that’s why the knight misunderstands her. The poem has a circular structure, repetition of the first knights’ words at the beginning and end of the poem. The first and last stanzas are almost identical. Lots of lines are repeated throughout. Title taken from a medieval poem, romanticism celebrated medievalism and its traditions. Written in the form of a Literary Ballad: Tells the story in a simple way, similar to a song or folk ballad, (embracing traditions). La Belle Dame Sans Merci
This is the first speaker as he is talking about another knight, asking rhetorical questions. I
The first and second stanzas contain anxiety and uncertainty of the first speaker and foreshadow the pain and trouble that will come to the second speaker No birds singing is a metaphor for there being no life around or no life for the knight ‘Ail’ means bringing someone down through pain or trouble. This foreshadows the discomfort the second knight will experience later in the poem. Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.
We would think a ‘knight-at-arms’ as a muscular and strong hero. However the hero is portrayed to be ‘haggard’. This is a derogatory term for a woman being used for a man, ‘Haggard old woman’. Pathetic Fallacy is used to set a dull mood. Binary Opposite: Winter, (when the harvest’s done), is cold in comparison to the sunshine that a knight would bring. This could also be a metaphor for the fact that the knight is food for the woman, so he gives her power. Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest's done.
Imagery of Nature is used to create a somber mood and tension in the atmosphere: Lilies are associated with funerals and death and fading roses with illness and death but nature usually has positive connotations. III
Negative connotations of nature: ‘anguish moist’ and ‘fast withereth too’ suggests a change in the woman or change in the power of nature. Quatrains: Regular four line stanzas for clarity could be seen as a representation of the woman’s power and stability. I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.
The Imaginative description and comparison of mythical characters suggests that this woman is not genuine, she may not be real as ‘a faery’s child’ would be a figment of the imagination and ‘her foot was light’ so she’s not down to earth. IV
Meads are meadows or forests. Highlights dream elements of beauty and nature. ‘Wild’ eyes suggest the power of forces of nature and so suggest the beautiful woman is not trustworthy. I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful - a faery's child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.
The idea of the knight making the woman a garland a bracelets suggests that he is adding to the power of nature and is causing his own failure while trying to bring himself happiness. Assonance: The repetition of vowels could represent a spell being cast on the knight by the woman. V
Sexual Imagery: Used to show the intentions of the knight and the extent of his foolishness after several warnings of danger. Rhyming: The second and last line of every stanza rhyme, (ABCB), adds an element of repetition and reinforcement of Keats’ message to both the speakers and the reader. I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.
A ‘pacing steed’ is a horse. This shows how he is trying to impress her and please her with power that he doesn’t hold. Dreamy Imagery of mythical characters: ‘A faery’s song’, portrays the ideas of idealism and individuality in the Romantic Movement and shows how persuasive this woman is....
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