Essay on Portrayal of Women in La Belle Dame sans Merci by John Keats and You're Beautiful by Simon Armitage

Submitted By osborneas
Words: 323
Pages: 2

La Belle Dame Sans Merci (1819) by John Keats and You’re Beautiful (2005) by Simon
Armitage are both exceptional poems which exemplify how implied gender roles within love poetry are a product of the historical, cultural and social contexts in which the poem was written. Having been written centuries apart, Armitage’s poem provides a very modernized viewpoint on love, written in free verse, whilst Keats’ describes a setting that mirrors the classical era, exhibiting the underlying elements of chivalry and courtly love by means of a ballad structure. This leads to two very different representations of the role of women within love poetry. Keats appears to be warning men about the destructive nature of women, whilst Armitage praises the inner beauty of a woman he admires, and specifically emphasizes the implicit differences of males and females through the use of the “Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars” concept – a considerably modern theory. Seemingly, in both poems the female characters serve as the author’s “inspirational muse”for they are the male speaker’s central subject for the entirety of the poem. Moreover, Keats’ poem positions a woman as the “silent object of male desire” whereas Armitage’s appears to be quite the reverse. The analysis of Keats’ and Armitage’s poems provoke thoughts upon the elements of love poetry written during the 19th century in comparison to the 21st century and the way in