The Eve of St. Agnes, by John Keats

1020 Words Jun 19th, 2018 5 Pages
In his poem “The Eve of St. Agnes”, John Keats writes of a tragic romantic tale of “two star-crossed lovers” sharing many similarities with William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” The poem follows a young man named Porphyro who love Madeline, a daughter of the king of a feuding family. During the evening of St. Agnes: a day that virginity is celebrated, Porphyro sneaks into Madeline’s room with some help and takes advantage of her while she was in a dream-like trance. Porphyro then convinces Madeline to run off with him into the winter storm that was brewing outside and they are never seen again. Keats presents his poem in a unique way that allows the audience to have multiple ways to interpret the actions and intents of the characters. …show more content…
The poem becomes darker and Madeline and Porphyro are contrasted as “phantoms” as they “glide” out of the castle and into the storm (Keats 1839). This shift could have been the result of the heavy consequences that both Porphyro and Madeline have to face because of their actions. Although Madeline and Porphyro are together, this darker tone seems to shed it in the light that their relationship is now tainted and against all that is good in the world.
Now that the setting, imagery, and descriptive detail have been taken into account, the decisions and actions of the characters can be examined. Although she is a minor character, Angela: one of Madeline maids catches Porphyro sneaking around the castle in the middle of the night and starts the beginning of the consequences of the night. By exclaiming as soon as she catches him, “I will not harm her, from all saints I swear” and saying that he will throw himself to death at the hands of the guardsmen if he does not see her, Porphyro manages to convince Angela that he truly does love Madeline (Keats 1834). Against her judgment and fueled by her knowledge that Madeline secret love Porphyro back she reluctantly lead him to Madeline rooms and hides him in the closet knowing that Porphyro only wants to see Madeline and not sleep with her (Keats 1834 – 1835). It is not her fault entirely of the consequences of that night cause she was told by Porphyro that he only would watch
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