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Word Count: 987
La Belle Dame Sans Merci translates to the beautiful woman has no mercy This is not the first time in Keatss poetry that we have heard this phrase- he also used it in The Eve of St Agnes another romantic poem rich negative capability It is as if these syllables have continued to haunt him he has expressed this questioning in La Belle Dame Sans Merci by presenting us with the set for a story but no conclusion or closure Initially this ballad looks quite simplistic the structure of the poem being a ballad looks very different from Keats other poems and the reader can be fooled into believing its like a rhyme not taking the content seriously However the structure is effective in creating a haunting atmosphere The short stanzas give an abrupt feeling to the poem and the fourth shorter line ending the stanza gives a rapid but unfulfilled closure to that section Keats uses the most common form of ballad I think to emphasis the impact of the content of the poem The story of is of a treacherous woman who tempts men away from the real world and then leaves them- their dreams unfulfilled and their lives blighted A haunting ominous effect is created throughout Keatss use of formal features of a traditional ballad Keats uses the traditional features of a ballad such as repetition of words and phrases as well a quatrain rhyming scheme and four line stanza However Keats alters the traditional ballad by shortening the last line of each stanza with fewer stresses The repetition was used to aid the memory in conventional ballads however Keats uses it to enhance the haunting effect creating a feeling of the word being echoed for the reader The shorter last lines of each stanza cause the stanza to end abruptly and make us feel as if something is being withheld or is absent These lines are quite are unsettling statements leaving
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