Year 12 poetry revision Mrs Taylor’s class

Hi all, hope your week is going well and you are managing to balance revision/naps/snacks/fresh air?

I will be in room 15 on Thursday during our lesson slot if anyone is free and wants to come in to go through anything. I just wanted to make sure you were confident on La Belle Dame and Coy Mistress. Below is an essay plan that I have put together to draw your attention to how you can incorporate the A02 methods and A03 context. I also attach the Coy Mistress slides that you were asked to go through independently.

Love, Mrs Taylor

How is tormented love presented in La Belle Dame Sans Merci?

  1. Intro – the poem is in the form of a medieval ballad ,there was a revival for this poetic form during the Romantic period – it typically presented ideas about unrequited love felt by a knight who was rejected by an unattainable woman. Keats presents the woman as a dangerous femme fatale who is responsible for seducing and destroying the knight – atypical for love poetry where often it is the woman who is subordinate to a man.
  2. The third person narrator in stanzas 1 -3 creates an objective account of the knight’s emotional desolation ( seasonal symbolism / deathly nature imagery / heavy liquid /l/ sounds line 2 . The 4th line is shorter (throughout- as it moves from iambic tetrameter to dimeter) imitating the theme of disharmony and lost love and the monosyllables ‘And no birds sing’ give a weighty sadness.
  3. Switch to first person narration of the knight in stanza 4 intensifies sympathy and understanding of his intense feelings of arousal and delight which prepare the contrast when he is later rejected ( line 20)  elongated vowels & monosyllabic stressed sounds heighten his ecstasy ‘and made sweet moan’  She is presented circe like ( nymph/ seductress) ‘faery’s child’ who sings ‘faery’s song’ – enchants mortal souls. The religious imagery of ‘ manna-dew’ implies her heavenly guise and deception. He is passive and the focus on active voice ‘She took me’ ‘She found me’ places him as the object and vulnerable.
  4. The most compelling presentation of love as tormented appears in stanzas 9-12 in the corpse like imagery describing the male victims before him ( starved lips / pale/ death-pale / cold hill side’ uses deathly imagery to emphasise the cruelty experienced at her hands. The direct speech references historic victims of passionate love – how perilous it is. Alternatively, feminist readers have suggested Keats demonises women by rendering the men as victims and unaccountable. Or alternatively, the woman is a metaphor for marriage and the enslavement it enforces. This would tie in with Romantic ideas about freedom of the individual.
  5. Conclusion – the cyclical structure of the poem shows the knight trapped in his grief and rejection; critic has called he woman ” the object of his dread and fascination” – the knight’s torment is masochistic and perversely desired.

to-his-coy-mistress (1)

Revision of Belle Dame and Non Sum Qualis

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