Comparative Analysis of "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" and "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Better Essays
Michelle Kfoury
Professor Butterworth
ENG 201

Comparative Analysis of “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” and “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” It comes as no surprise that love poems are not a rare commodity. Whether they’re about a lovesick man pining for his soul mate or a general reflection about how one perceives love, these poems offer an analysis of one of the most innate desires of our human nature. Despite inevitable differences in writing style and point of view, there can be times where love poems employ similar strategies to tackle such an analysis. John Keats’ “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” and T. S. Eliot’s “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” are no exception to this occurrence. Both poems use two different and
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13, 25-26). Because of how the knight describes the meadow, it can be inferred that it is springtime. This is a significant contrast to the bleak, wintry hillside that he described previously. With the contrast in this setting comes a contrast in how the knight characterizes love. In the meadow, the knight meets a beautiful woman with long hair and wild eyes. The knight describes her as having an almost fairy-like presence (Ln. 14-16). He makes her a garland for her head and bracelets from the flowers in the meadow (Ln. 17-20). The woman eventually takes the knight back to her “elfin grot”, or, cave, where he kisses her. By establishing a different setting where the knight appears to experience love, the second setting in “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” serves to resolve the knight’s alienation and abandonment from love. T.S. Eliot’s “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” similarly offers a second setting where Prufrock tries to recall love to resolve his alienation from it. The dirty, urban, insidious streets laced with an ominous yellow fog suggest that Prufrock is alienated from love. He fears not being able to find a woman that will be able to look past his physical inadequacies. However, Prufrock attempts to resolve his alienation by shifting the setting from the insidious streets of a city to the beach. The mermaids
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