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Consider how love is presented in “La Belle Dans Merci” and “Isabella”

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  • Category: Love

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Both of these poems have aspects of different sorts of love. In “La Belle Dans Merci” Keats uses the notion of courtly love. This is worshipping from afar. In “Isabella” Keats uses unrequited love. This is often bad for the person’s health as they are always obsessed with each other, but are too afraid to share their feelings. In both poems Keats has a jaded view of love and there are many obsession of love in both poems. “La Belle” uses the notion of courtly love, which is described as love from a distance. This is considered noble and valiant, a frequent giving of gifts.

In “Isabella” Keats used the notion of unrequited love. Sometimes one or both of the admirer’s love is not satisfied, or returned by the object of desire. Both of these notions of love show obsessive qualities. In “La Belle” Keats uses images and different sorts of courtly love. Keats gives the image of the knight as if he was desperately looking for love. Keats uses very descriptive words such as “Alone and palely loitering” which give a cold image of the knight. Keats then goes onto say “I see a lily on thy brow” which symbolizes purity and shows that the knight is pure and a good man.

He is the ideal match for a lady that he sees who is of “Full beauty, a faerys child” which shows the lady is spiritual and magical. This could show that she is trying to put the knight under her spell. When he meets his “Faerys child” he was overpowered with emotion. The reader’s suspicion of this faerys child is raised more when her eyes are describes as “wild” which could show that the lady is mystical and maybe evil. The knight then goes on to pay court to his new love “I made a garland for her head. ” Which shows he has become totally love-struck for his new love.

This is a very good example of love at first sight. The knight sets the mystical woman onto his “Pacing Steed” which is an example of courtly love as he sets her on a pedestal. Keats uses “faerys child” to describe the woman, which also means she is strongly beautiful and witty. The woman has “Long” hair and “her foot was light. ” These characteristics that attract the knight is overpowered with emotion for this woman, he has to describe her and this woman is making him totally smitten. The knight makes gifts for the women with “Garlands” and ” bracelets” which are both gifts of nature.

The faerys child thinks they are pleasant and “Makes sweet moan” and gives a little exclamation of pleasure. This image is clearly of a man paying court to a beautiful woman. After the knight has put her on his horse, she starts to sing a “faerys song” to the knight, are now the knight cannot take his eyes off of her. The lady now finds sweet things for the knight, such as “roots of relish” and feeds them to her paramour! In a way, this ‘couple’ have exchanged gifs. The mystical lady then leads him to her home where they kiss. The knight sealing her eyes with “Kisses four” because she is apparently crying.

The knight then tells us he has had a dream, but that the fact that “Ah, woe betide” proceeds this revelation hints that the dream was unpleasant. He tells the reader that he saw “pale kings, and princes too, pale warriors, death-pale were they all” this repetitive use of “pale” really hammers home the point that this is am unpleasant dream. These kings and princes warned the knight about the mystical woman. From the shock of this warning the knight wakes from his fateful step and finds himself on a pale hillside (as apposed to an elfin grot, which conjures up images of mystical pleasantness.

I get the impression that the lady users her control and beautifulness to attract these men and then users them as slaves. This tells me that this woman has no mercy or pity, and just wants to take lives away from men. I think that Keats has experienced a relationship like this in real life. He has found a woman he fought he loved, but then she ‘stabbed him in the heart’ and left him. These two poems are both about obsession. In both poems at least one character is obsessed with the other. In “Isabella” both Lorenzo and Isabella are obsessed with each other. Also in “La Belle” the knight is obsessed with the faerys child.

In “Isabella” Keats uses imagery and the notion of unrequited love. This image is clearly of two people living under one roof and is intensely aware of each other. These two people could not be without each other – even tough neither knows each other’s feelings. Their feelings are mutual as they both love each other, but both are frightened of each other. ” He might not in house, field, or garden stir, but her full shape would all his seeing fill” this shows that he always has an image of her in his eye. “Her beauty farther than the falcon spies and constant as her vespers would he watch” this implies he is always looking for her again.

He could tell her from a great distance. The impression that I have gained about the intensity of their emotion is that they have discovered each other, but are too afraid to do anything bout it. “A whole long month of May in this sad plight made their cheeks paler by the break of June” this unrequited love seems to be affecting them like stress would affect us. Lorenzo repeats the words “To morrow” to emphasise the constant delay of declaring their love. “Until sweet Isabella’s untouched cheek fell sick within the rose’s just domain” is another effect of unrequited love, now Isabella has made herself sick pinning for Lorenzo.

The comments Keats is making is that love should be experienced by telling the one you love how you fells about them and that you must get it out of your systems or you will fall ill for no medical reason. Lorenzo thinks that hopefully if he tells Isabella his feelings, it will cure her. He prayed for him to pluck up the courage to tell her ” he inwardly did pray”. “For power to speak; but still ruddy tide stifled his voice, and puls’d resolve away” Lorenzo resolved to tell her, but it makes him nervous as hell. He hopes it will cure her, but again he chickens out.

The point Keats is making about love is sometimes it can be “meek” and a “misery,” but at other times a relationship can be “wild” and you can “love” love. When Lorenzo was trying to tell Isabella about his love for her “she saw it waxing very pale and dead, and straight all flush’d; so, lisped tenderly” Isabella saw he was working himself into a state. Isabella then shouts out Lorenzo’s name, but this time she chickens out. “But in her tone and look he read the rest” which means that Lorenzo noticed she felt the same way about him.

Then they go on to finally tell each other about their love and each other’s grief. Love! Thou art leading me from wintry cold” which shows that Lorenzo is pulling her out of her sickness. ” His erewhile timid lops grew bold, and poesied with hers in dewy rhyme: great bliss was with them, and great happiness grew, like a lusty flower in June’s caress. They finally kiss and there love blossoms. Keats has used many images of nature to describe the intangible motional states. There are different effects of love. In “La Belle” there is a negative sort of love, as the knight just falls head over heels for the woman and she tries to take his soul.

If it weren’t for the dream he had he would have became a slave. In “Isabella” there is a positive sort of love, s they end up telling each other about there love, and they both wish they had done it much earlier so they would not of had to go through all of the pain. In these two poems the men assume the role as the dominant, strong partner, who, when sees a beautiful woman, just falls for her and goes into a personal dreamland with the object of affection. The woman takes the role as the affectionate one and just leads the men on.

This is exceptional especially shown in “La Belle” Keats offers warnings and advice in these two poems. In “La Belle” he offers a warning to men who think that love at first sight is always perfect, but sometimes it is not and the woman might be trying to lead the man elsewhere. In contrast to “Isabella” where he offers advice. This advice is to tell the person your feelings and do not keep them to yourself, get them out in the open as soon as possible. Keats has made valid points about love in these two poems. These are to follow your heart sometimes, but at other times, use your brain and do not go over board with your love.

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