The Eve of St Agnes is a feast celebrated annually on January 21st in Rome. The original story “myth” said that young virgins who follow specific ritualistic actions will have ‘visions of delight’ that show them their future husbands.
According to tradition, Saint Agnes was born and raised in a Christian family. She suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve, on January 21, 304 CE.
The Roman Prefect called Semproniu commanded Agnes to marry his son, but she refused! he condemned her to death, but Roman law did not allow the execution of virgins, Sempronius had her naked and dragged through the streets to a brothel. St Agnes was sent to a house of prostitution for refusing to marry. She prayed and her body was covered by her growing hair, and any man try to rape her was immediately struck blind! They tried to burn her after tighten her on a stake but a flame could not be started! Finally, the officer in-charged of the execution beheaded her with his sword! She did not want to marry but wanted to devote her life to God.
St Agnes presents us with a female figure who refused the advances of a suitor and was saved on a spiritual level by her virtue (idealism).
The poem is about a story of two lovers Madeline and her future husband Porphyro (according to her vision or dream) who met in secret and finally escaped together.
The romance verse narrative “The Eve of St, Agnes” is a masculine genre; because Keats was trying to isolate himself from a female literary. Keats was concerned to impress upper class male audience. This attempt was a respond to critics whom characterized Keats as a woman.
Keats was abused by reviewers as f...
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...ore the limitations of idealism.
1- Stephen Bygrave, Romantic writing, 2004, The Open University, 162-170.
2- Catholic Revelations, The Life of St. Agnes of Rome, a Saint, Virgin & Martyr of the Catholic Church, 20 April 2010.
3- Charles E. Wentworth, The Eve of St. Agnes, 1885, John Wilson and son, Cambridge.
4- Victorian Web, The Theme of "The Eve of St. Agnes" in the Pre-Raphaelite Movement, Meredith Ringel, Brown University, 2004, last access 21 April 2010.
5- Brooklyn College web page, The Eve of St. Agnes, English department, Lilia Melani, February 20, 2009, last access 23 April 2010.
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