La Belle Dame sans Merci Analysis Essay

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La Belle Dame sans Merci, written by famous romantic poet John Keats in 1819, has been declared one of Keats’s greatest works due to the ambiguous boundaries it sets between imagination and reality [Kelly]. Throughout the poem, the reader always questions the “reality” presented by the poem, creating many facets that the readers have discussed for years and still have not established a definite answer as to their true meaning. La Belle Dame sans Merci embodies Keats’s “negative capability” perfectly. Keats believed that people of great intellectual prowess must retain the ability to accept that everything might not have a clear-cut value and that there is not always one true answer. This is the essence of negative capability, and the…show more content…
The fantasy portion of the poem is created through the knight’s tale, which envelopes the remainder of the poem.
Stanzas IV through IX entail the quick relationship between the knight and the “faery’s child.” Stanzas IV through VI focus on the knight, showing his actions (“I met a lady,” “I made a garland,” “ I set her.”) The focus changes in stanzas VII through IX to the lady (“She found me roots,” “She took me,” “She lulled me.”) This transference of leadership in action indicates a seduction of the knight and that the lady is starting to become the one in control [Melani], contrasting from that presented by stanzas IV through VI. The lady also seduces the knight with “roots of relish sweet / and honey wild, and manna dew,” drawing the knight further into her grasp with her mystic and whimsical mannerisms.
However, there is an inconsistency from the rest of the encounter that stands out. In stanza VIII, the lady takes the knight to her “elfin grot” where “she wept, and sigh’d fill sore.” This contrasts from the cheerful and magical tone created in the preceding stanzas pertaining to the couple’s time together. This event could be the cause of the knight’s expulsion from the lady’s home and the force behind the dream from the induced sleep. This
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