Summary Of John Keats Lamia

1190 Words5 Pages
“Lamia”
Lamia is a monster with the body of a human that supposedly preys upon humans (Lamia, n.). John Keats’ “Lamia” is a narrative poem describing the short life of Lamia, a woman turned serpent to woman by a god in exchange for her assistance. Upon being transformed, she seeks out a youth, Lycius, and they fall in a dream-like love (296-7), living in seclusion until he insists on showing their love to the world; despite her reluctance, a wedding procession takes place, in which a conflict between her illusionary state, and the philosopher, Apollonius, resulting in the vanishing of Lamia, and death of Lycius. Philosophy and mythology are a continuous theme throughout the story and are painted as separate ideas and entities; the differences
…show more content…
Apollonius, personifying philosophy, purposefully rejects mythology literally by causing Lamia’s death –turning into a shade suggests transformation into a form of a dead person, and inhabiting Hades’ domain (Shade, n, II.6.a) –and metaphorically by deconstruction of rainbows. Apollonius is described as having “sharp eyes …, [a] philosophic gown, (364-5)” “[an] eye severe …, calm-planted steps …, [and an] austere, (157-8)” nature; he is a rational, and thoughtful individual who does not “[hurry] maz’d, curious, and keen (156)” when confronted with something unusual or new, while also avoiding the sloth, and excess the other townsfolk live in (350-61). Apollonius’ actions were purposeful, and he is vocal about “doing this wrong, (168)” when he comes to the wedding to expose Lamia. Because Lamia is described in uncertain terms, according to the Realms of Forms idea, she is ill-fitting based on Platonic philosophy –Lycius is stated to be a scholar in platonic philosophy (236), considering Apollonius is his “trusty guide And good instructor; (375-6)” he is only able to characterize her nature in one construct, one form. His negative characterization of Lamia as a serpent and Lamia (260-305) illustrates Apollonius’ disregard for her more mythological side, which may suggest his disregard for mythology in general. As well, the reader is aware that Hermes…show more content…
This transformation led to the cultivation of her love with Lycius, and his inadvertent change in ideology. When their love attempted to enter openness, it caught the attention of Apollonius, who in his spite, caused Lamia’s and Lycius’ deaths due to difference in ideologies. Because philosophy and mythology differed in their attitudes on uncertainties, Lamia’s corporeal transformation, hybrid nature acted as catalysts for escalation of the philosophy-mythology conflict, resulting in more than the mere loss of
Open Document