Essay on John Keats La Belle Damn Sans Merci Analysis

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Of all the themes in poetry, one that is most commonly used and stands out quite a lot is love. T. S Elliot once quoted “Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion”. As such, it is no wonder that the themes of unrequited love and despair are very prominent in poem La Belle Dame sans Merci by John Keats. In this poem Keats clearly denotes his personal rebellion against the pains of love and revealed the sad reality that; in pleasure, there is pain. This paper will take a closer look at one of the most prominent themes in La Belle Dame sans Merci; Love and Despair.

The poem begins with a forlorn and heartbroken narrator suffering from both physical and emotional pain, ‘So haggard and woebegone’ (l 6) who meets a
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He was all alone and the his expectations of the romance was shattered. It then dawned that his suffering disappointment stemmed from the realization that she never really loved him the way he thought she did. At this point the knight is lonely and hopeless, but he does not show anger towards her. This shows his understanding that in love there is despair. Even though the love he feels for her is pure and true, she did not have the same feelings.
The only clues in La Bella Dame sans Merci that depicts whether or not the love felt by the maiden towards the knight is true, comes from the dreams of the knight when he was sleeping. In his dream he comes to the realization that the maiden is pitiless and she has no mercy. His dreams can be interpreted as if the knight subconsciously knew that the love wasn’t real and that the maiden had already left him, and his mind has already started shifting the blame towards her. This mentally prepares the knight for the harsh reality that he has to face as he awakes. The dream might just be his rationalization; a way of making her out to be evil in order to cope with the pain of learning his love is unrequited, and in love there is despair.

Despair is the state of having lost all hope, of finding oneself unable to believe life will ever be good again. The knight in "La Belle Dame sans Merci" falls into despair when he learns a relationship that seemed to be just starting has abruptly ended. His
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