Keats sets his simple story of love and death in a

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Keats sets his simple story of love and death in a bleak wintry landscape that is appropriate to it: "The sedge has wither'd from the lake / And no birds sing!" The repetition of these two
lines, with minor variations, as the concluding lines of the poem emphasizes the fate of the unfortunate knight and neatly encloses the poem in a frame by bringing it back to its beginning.In keeping with the ballad tradition, Keats does not identify his questioner, or the knight, or the destructively beautiful lady. What Keats does not include in his poem contributes as much to it in arousing the reader's imagination as what he puts into it. La belle dame sans merci, the beautiful lady without pity, is a femme fatale, a Circelike figure who attracts lovers only to destroy them by her supernatural powers. She destroys because it is her nature to destroy. Keats could have found patterns for his "faery's child" in folk mythology, classical literature, Renaissance poetry, or the medieval ballad. With a few skillful touches, he creates a woman who is at once beautiful, erotically attractive, fascinating, and deadly.Some readers see the poem as Keats' personal rebellion against the pains of love. In his letters and in some of his poems, he reveals that he did experience the pains, as well as the pleasures, of love and that he resented the pains, particularly the loss of freedom that came with falling in love. However, the ballad is a very objective form, and it may be best to read "La Belle Dame sans Merci" as pure story and no more. How Keats felt about his love for Fanny Brawne we can discover in the several poems he addressed to her, as well as in his letters.La Belle Dame sans Merciis in the form of a folk ballad and relates the story of a man (a knight) and a beautiful woman (a faery's child), in what is a curious allegorical romance.Many think John Keats got the idea for the title from a medieval French poem written by one Alain Chartier (in old french merci meant mercy, not thank you as it does today) and he could also have been inspired by the earlier Scottish story of Thomas the Rhymer, who is taken off by the beautiful Queen of Elfinland on a white horse.There are some strong arguments for a later version of this story being of particular interest. Sir Walter Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Bordercontained the original ballad of Thomas,written in rhyming verse, and Keats could well have come across it.Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene has also been cited as a possible influence. Published in 1590, it has a character called Florimell, a lady, 'Fair Florimell, beloved of many a knight.'Other events in his life may well have contributed to the idea of an enigmatic and slightly disturbing romance in poetic form such as a ballad.

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