The poem begins with a forlorn and heartbroken narrator suffering from both physical and emotional pain, ‘So haggard and woebegone’ (l 6) who meets a …show more content…
The stranger sees how pale he is and, noticing he has chosen to live by a dead, frozen lake, wants to know what ails him, by which he means what has made the knight so sick in spirit.
In the middle stanzas of the poem, the knight describes the romance, which meant more to him than anything that happened before it or since. The brief romance ended with the lady lulling him to sleep. Readers can assume that, comfortable and happy beside her, he expected their love to continue and even to grow when he awoke.
In the real (as opposed to magical) world, the knight's despair would take time to develop, because he would not know for sure that the woman he loved was gone forever. In the magical world of this poem, though, he is visited in his sleep by pale figures of noble men who describe the woman as merciless. When he wakes to find her gone, he readily believes her absence confirms the damning things the figures said about her. The poem does not have the knight looking for his lady or trying to find out why she has left; he is as certain she had no intention of staying with him just as surely as he knows he loves her. There is no hope they will be reunited, and therefore there is no hope that he can ever be happy again. His life is doomed to despair.
La Belle Dame sans Merci" is a ballad, a medieval genre revived by the romantic poets. Keats uses the so-called ballad stanza, a quatrain in