An Analysis Of John Keats's 'Bright Star'

1560 Words7 Pages
John Keats’s untitled poem, which I will refer to as ‘Bright Star’, presents an ongoing dichotomy of opinions on the star, beginning with admiration for the star but then heavily qualifying that admiration throughout the rest of the poem. The speaker starts by praising the star’s stillness and eternality, but then quickly shifts gears, lamenting the star’s solitude and further bemoaning what the star is forced to look at. The speaker seemingly changes his mind at the end, however, saying that he wants to be eternal, like the star, in lying with the woman he loves. Thus, upon first glance, ‘Bright Star’ seemingly concludes with a favorable view of the star and its eternality. However, a closer analysis reveals that the speaker actually pities the star and sees its eternality as a curse and not a blessing—stemming from the fact that the star exists in a loveless solitude. It takes until the very end of the poem to arrive at this conclusion, but Keats’s specific choices of language and grammatical structure prove that the speaker does not, in fact, admire the star. The speaker misleads the reader about his true opinion from the very first line, addressing a star and saying, “would I were steadfast as thou art ”. This line presents the star in a positive light, signaling that the reader admires it for its stillness and eternality amidst an ever-changing world. Given that this poem is just a 14-line sonnet, one would think that this first line would set the tone for the
Open Document