Keats' Poems and Letters

An Exploration of Love and the Supernatural 12th Grade

Keats’ exploration of the nature of love is enhanced through his utilisation of the imagination and the overtly supernatural settings which he creates. Both Lamia, which relates the mystical story of a beautiful serpent who strikes a deal with Hermes in order to restore herself to the form of a woman, and La Belle Dame Sans Merci, which presents the story of a knight falling victim to a ‘faery’-like woman, employ an hypnotic rhythm accompanied by mythical allusions which help to display the inner workings of Keats’ highly imaginative mind. Critics have described some of the poetry of the Romantics as ‘a semi-religious response to the natural world’; however, what can be detected from Keats’ aforementioned poems is the sense of a semi-religious response to the supernatural world, which is portrayed with such sensory detail and artistry that it can seem almost unimaginable.

The entrancing hypnotic effect of both La Belle Dame Sans Merci, which is written in iambic tetrameter, and Lamia, consisting of heroic rhyming couplets which create a repetitive beat and continuous motion, perhaps reflect the supernatural nature of the stories and the potentially damaging power of their protagonists. This becomes apparent in the ‘wild wild...

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