Lamia | Study Guide

John Keats

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Course Hero. "Lamia Study Guide." June 14, 2020. Accessed July 5, 2020.


Course Hero, "Lamia Study Guide," June 14, 2020, accessed July 5, 2020,



John Keats

Year Published






Perspective and Narrator

The poem is narrated in the third person which creates a sense of distance from the characters in keeping with the ancient setting and mythical elements.


The story is told in the past tense, emphasizing that these events occurred in the distant classical past.

About the Title

The original Lamia in Greek mythology was a woman to whom the god Zeus was attracted. Zeus's wife Hera killed Lamia's children out of jealousy. This drove Lamia mad, so she started stealing other women's children and eating them. In some descriptions Lamia is described as having serpentine qualities or the lower body of a serpent. Her name ultimately has come to signify a female monster who feeds on people, usually men. Keats's Lamia is likewise seductively beautiful and is at one point a serpent, but her story is very different. It follows a story told in Robert Burton's (1577–1640) Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), which itself takes the story from Greek philosopher Flavius Philostratus (c. 170–244).


This study guide for John Keats's Lamia offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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