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Analysis Of Bright Star By John Keats

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In the famous poem “Bright Star”, dedicated to his lover Fanny Brawne, John Keats presents the essence of love in passion and in depth. As its form, a combination of Shakespearean and Italian sonnets suggests, the poem portrays love as a subject full of seemingly contradictive qualities. As a subjective matter, love is active and passive, physical and spiritual, mutable and eternal at the same time. Holding immortal love as the ultimate value of life, the speaker imagines a brave possibility of love transcending life for his romantic belief. In the beginning of the poem, the speaker presents love as a subjective matter by contrasting it with the significant image of the star, a symbol of divine objectivity. Since long ago, man has learned to observe stars for its “steadfastness” for directions and guidance (1). Thus in western culture, star is seen as a prophetic divine existence, a form of absolute truth or universal rule, above all arbitrary and relative beings on earth. The speaker then implies love to be the opposite by emphasizing the star’s incapability of worldly emotions and personal perspectives by applying the metaphor of “Eremite” (4). The stoic hermit or recluse under religious vow sacrifices personal feelings and preferences in order to obtain absolute truth. Hence, the speaker perceives love as a subjective matter, unrelated to the absolute. In line 6, the metaphor of “mask” also proves such assumption: Only by covering the objects, the snow, amorphous
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