Bright Star essay

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In Bright Star, Keats utilises a mixture of the Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnet forms to vividly portray his thoughts on the conflict between his longing to be immortal like the steadfast star, and his longing to be together with his love. The contrast between the loneliness of forever and the intenseness of the temporary are presented in the rich natural imagery and sensuous descriptions of his true wishes with Fanny Brawne.

The structure of Bright Star is unique in that it breaks free of the limitations of the sonnet form, a form that is notorious for its strict and constrained nature. The rhyme scheme falls very close to the Shakespearean rhyme scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG, in which the last two lines represent the final heroic
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This shows how the speaker realises the importance of companionship, but also how the star in reality is actually a lone and solitary figure in space, surrounded by nothing for miles around. Keats wishes he were like the star, as he admires the personified star’s immortal quality, but notices its shortcomings, he will be alone forever in cold space.

Keats uses the volta and the sestet to portray how he ultimately rejects the loneliness of forever in favour of the temporary life of reality in which there is companionship and love. The strong synaesthesia of ‘pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast’, appeals to our sense of touch as we can feel the warmth and the ‘pillow’, our sense of taste due to the associations with fruit that ‘ripening’ has, and our sense of sight as we can vividly imagine the scene. This conveys to us how sensuous and preferable it to be on Earth with love from others, than to be alone in the skies, even if human life is temporary. It is likely that ‘fair love’ was addressed to Fanny Brawne, Keats’ lover, showing how Keats feels love strongly and passionately. The repetition of ‘for ever’ in ‘feel for ever its soft fall and swell / Awake for ever in a sweet unrest’ is ironic, because it shows Keats wishing to live in this moment of
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