Analysis of sonnets(need help)

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Analysis of sonnets(need help)

Postby KoreanSpy05 » Wed May 12, 2004 2:48 am

Hi. I need help with an oral presentation for my brit. lit. class. I'm assigned Chapman's Homer, When I Have Fears, and La Belle Dame Sans Merci. If someone could help me understand all the concepts in these sonnets that would be great. I would really appreciate it and forever be in your debt. Thanks.
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Postby Matt » Fri Jun 18, 2004 11:33 am


I can tryand help although its probably to late now. It might help someone else though or at least me for revision purposes! I do not at this moment have access to the texts but I'll see what i can do off the top of my head.

1) Chapmans Homer

This poem refers to Keats' self professed extensive knowledge of literature ("much have i travelled in realms of gold") and how the Chapmans translation of Homer made the stories of the Illiad and The Odyssey clear to Keats ("then i felt like some great watcher of the skies")I apologise that this is so vague.

2) When I have fears that I may cease to be

Ah now this is more like it! This refers to Keats ultimate fear that he would die (When i have fears that i may cease to be...) before he got the chance to utilise his literary ability (...before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain) The ending of the poem discusses the utter lonliness that Keats feels when he thinks about the ossibilityof impending death, to thepoint where nothing in life matters ( then on the shore of the wide world i stand alone/ Till love and fame to nothingness do sink)
This poem is interestingmost because of its eerily prophectic discussion. Keats' medical training along with the death of his mother and his brother to TB meant that Keats was always suspective that he might lose hislife to the fatal disease. I do not know of the top of my head unfortunately if Tom Keats had already died when Keats composed this poem.

3) La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Oneof Keats' most famous poems yet one that i myself am not to keen on. This poemis an explicit reference to Keats' view on Women as a species which trap men. This theme is also concurrent in works such as 'Lamia' and 'Endymion'. I cannot remember quotes of the top of my head. I know that the 'knight at arms' is'alone and palely loitering'. Is it 'palely?' The La Belle Dame Sans Merci is a seductress who fools the night into thinking they have something special only to leave him at the end of the poem after the night has seen in a dream the past victims of the Belle Dame Sans Merci.
I do like the stanza in which the kinght sets the Belle on 'his pacing steed' as she makes sweet moan. A humorous reference to sex perhaps? Probably not.

Well, I hope i have at least offered some helpor at least encouraged other people to continue this thread (and right my wrongs) for your benefit or for other peoples.

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