Keats - La Belle Dame Sans Merci - Summary

Form, structure , language , setting and voice overviews for Section A part A question (AO2) and some different interpretations / context (AO3 and AO4)

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La Belle Dame Sans Merci ­ Analysis
Knight discovered Met / "wooed" beautiful woman "elfin grott" nightmare found.
Ballad Folk like / often stories with moral or didactic elements.
Iambic Tetrametre ­ regular stanzas: like a story.
ABCB Rhyme Scheme
Three lines of 8 syllables, fourth only has 4 sense of confusion/lack of resolve.
Therefore the metre and rhyme scheme are constant, but unexpected.
Narrator ­ unknown (reliable?) present tense, first person
Knight ­ direct speech, unreliable, retrospective, focus on actions
Belle Dame ­ no narrative voice
Narrator could be imagined by knight : no objection to his story (or is this just masculine view)
Knight could be creation of the narrator: similar voice/tone and descriptive language/skill.
Desolate Knight's mentality "wither'd"
Time ­ Winter
Place ­ countryside/nature
Medieval time ­ moral/supernatural emphasises ballad form
Combination of these elements make the setting unusuall for the action: adds to confusion.
Real world and dream world: hard to distinguish heightens confusion.
Archaic language authenticity of medieval setting
Assonance "O" haunting aural effect emphasised by repetition ­Knight's moans/her song?
"Faery" repeated supernatural/unknown not compatible with human nature.
Emotive Language "wild" "stranged" "lulled" His attitude distorts our reception.
1st person Reliable?? Tension and pace.
Repetition of question concern or frustration.
All is interprested by the knight; "sweet" "wild" very 1 sided descriptions.
"lily" association with death.
Punctuation echoes his distress.
Patriarchy and the importance of men/suppression of women.
Role of women temptress or seductress how far is she responsible??
Magic v. Love
Self Illusion
Love alone will not sustain life
Knight and Belle Dame's relationship.
Importance of desolate setting.

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Moral message.
April 1819 2 years before Keats' death: focus was on writing.
Expression of guilt over leaving Fanny Brawne.
Love and the outside world could not co-exist for Keats seclusion was successful.
Patriarchal ideals: women expected to be subservient if not they were regarded wearily.…read more


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