preview

The Presentation of Women in La Belle Dame Sans Merci and Mariana

The Presentation of Women in La Belle Dame Sans Merci and Mariana Though both poems have the common theme of unrequited love, Keats and Tennyson assign very different characteristics to the women in their poems. In "Mariana", the woman is submissive and a victim of cruelty, whereas La Belle Dame in "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" is the more powerful of the man and woman in the poem, and the one inflicting the cruelty. In both poems, the landscapes mirror these characteristics, and even the feelings of these two women. The landscape is also symbolic of Mariana, as she is mortal and will eventually die as plants die, and seasons change. She is therefore more naturalistic than the mysterious Belle Dame is. Her mystery is further enhanced by the Arthurian flavour which Keats associates with her, just as Tennyson writes of the Mariana in Shakespeare's "measure for measure". Mariana is presented by Tennyson as passive due to the lack of action she takes in her situation. Instead, she simply wishes she were dead, and does not even take action into killing herself, showing he...
Get Access