Ambiguity In To Autumn And La Belle Dame Sanns Merci
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Ambiguity in John Keats poems
Applied to the poems To Autumn and La Belle Dame Sans Merci
The following essay treats the problem of ambiguity in John Keats poems To Autumn and La Belle Dame Sans Merci.
Ambiguity is treated by the structuralism school and is presented as an intrinsic, inalienable character of any self-focused message, briefly a corollary feature of poetry. Not only the message itself but also its addresser and addressee become ambiguous. Besides the author and the reader, there is the ‘I’ of the lyrical hero or of the fictitious storyteller and the ‘you’ or ‘thou’ of the alleged addressee of dramatic monologues, supplications and epistles. Empson said that: „The machinations of ambiguity are among the very roots of poetry”(Surdulescu, Stefanescu, 30).
The ambiguous intellectual attitude deconstructs both the heroic commitement to a cause in tragedy and the didactic confinement to a class in comedy; its unstable allegiance permits Keats’s exemplary poet (the „camelion poet”, more of an ideal projection than a description of Keats actual practice) to derive equal delight conceiving a lago or an Imogen. This perplexing situation is achieved through a histrionic strategy of „showing how”, rather than „telling about it” (Stefanescu, 173 ).
It is true that Keats wished to make progress in philosophy: one reason for this was that he believed that an epic poet must be a philosopher. Apart from the passages in his letters where he talks of his philosophical