The Eve of St. Agnes by John Keats Essay

The Eve of St. Agnes by John Keats Essay

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Someone once said that true love is only an illusion and can never be achieved. This is evidently shown through many elements of the poem by John Keats, “The Eve of St. Agnes.” Much of this poem is about the imagination and how it can blind people and make them oblivious to the true events that are occurring. We the readers can see this very easily through the portrayal of one of the main characters Madeline. The second main character Porphyro tries to authenticate her quest for a dream experience however ends up taking advantage of her while she thinks she is still dreaming. The poem does endorse how the power of Madeline’s visionary imagination can influence her and the others around her, but also that happenings outside of the dream can cause the person in the dream to be taken advantage of with out the dreamers knowledge. The truth is that Porphyro knows exactly what he is doing and instead of doing things in a honorable way, he decides to proceed in a dishonorable way and totally violates her visionary imagination.

The night that is being spoken of in this poem is a night of dreams and imagination. It is supposed to be a mystical night in which young women have dreams of their one true love. Madeline takes this to a totally different level in that she totally succumbs to the mystical ability of the night and totally loses her mind. In that she doesn’t even know if she is still dreaming or if she is wake. Some interpretations of the poem say that she is wake and know what she is doing. However, I believe the contrary that she doesn’t know what she is doing. “Hoodwink’d with faery fancy.” (70) Most of what she does is due to the mystical feeling the night causes. A mind can play may tricks and the mind can make ...


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... to trick her into doing something on a night to which she seem to have no control over, on one of the most mystical night of them all. The only reason that I can think of that she goes away with him at the end is not because she truly love him, but that she is starting to realize what she did. Now the only honorable thing to do is go away with him so that she doesn’t dishonor anyone. This is kind of ironic because it was the dishonor of Porphyro, which caused all this, and yet she is doing the honorable thing.


Works Cited Page

Keats, John. “The Eve of St. Agnes.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol II, Ed. MH Abrams, et al. New York; Norton 2000. Pg 834-844.

Stillinger, Jack. “The Hoodwinking of Madeline: Skepticism in The Eve of St. Agnes.” Twentieth Century Interpretations of the “Eve of St. Agnes.” Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Pgs. 67-94

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