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Jake PriddyENG 102-03Jay WhitakerOctober 8, 2007Romance vs. Reality: Reminiscence on the Age of ChivalryThe style in which John Keats writes "La Belle Dame sans Merci” purposefully reflects the major theme of the poem (which can be a little obtuse); the days of chivalry are long past, and those who chase their fantasies of those days (to the exclusion of all else) do so at their own risk. Keats modeled “La Belle Dame” in the tradition of the medieval folk ballad, a style of poetry predominant in the time frame in which the story takes place. According to Edward Hoffman, “most of these short poems, composed during the fifteenth century are cut from the same pattern. They are conventional pieces, similar in theme and in form.” (Hoffman 1). Hoffman also notes in his Speculumreview that “Favorite subjects such as…chivalric love, and a Dame sans merciare all traditional themes which arose out of Guillaume de Lorris’ portion of the Roman de la Rose.”(Hoffman 2) Keats even took his title from a poem by the medieval poet, Alain Chartier (It means the beautiful woman without pity). In the poem, an unidentified passerby asks the knight what is wrong (stanzas I-III). The knight answers that he has been in love with and abandoned by a beautiful lady (stanzas IV-XII). Because Keats is imitating the folk ballad, he uses simple language, focuses on one event, provides minimal details about the characters, and makes no judgments. Some details are realistic and familiar, others are unearthly and strange. As a result, the poem creates a sense of