At first analysis of the rhyme scheme, many would describe the “Bright Star” as an English, Shakespearean sonnet. However, after a closer analysis reveals a structure of eight and then six lines rhymes interweaving, an octave preceding a sestet, it becomes evident that the poem conforms to the structure of an Italian sonnet. This merger of two sonnet types into one larger sonnet is deliberate. By harnessing the most powerful aspects of the Italian and English sonnets into a single sonnet, Keats is able to present structurally his ideas while also emphasizing the couplet. The Petrarchan sonnet lends a structured outline to the ideas displayed within the sonnet; the first eight lines share a common theme while the last six lines, although only a modification of the first idea presented, discuss an alternative theme. The reason Keats includes features from the English sonnet is to emphasize the couplet. The "mask" is the covering of snow on the ground. This snow has pleasing connotations, being "new" and "soft." All the moon can do is "gaze."
2. What are the effects of one or two of this poem’s rhymes?
One of the most important rhymes in the poem “Bright Star” is “breath” with “death”. An analysis of this rhyme allows for further exploration into Keats’ reasons for incorporating the rhyme scheme of a Shakespearean sonnet. Keats’ approach draws the attention of the reader to the couplet to emphasize his desire to “live [for]ever” in eternity with his love. Although not a unique, this rhyme still successfully incorporates a tragic aspect of the poem and highlights the author’s deep desire to be immortal only if he is able to live in eternity with someone he loves.
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..., race, or eros, or death, or class, or nature, or gender, or whatever?
In Keats’ “Bright Star” and Robert Frost’s “Choose Something Like a Star”, both authors observe the North Star similarly. However, in each poem, the star comforts the author in a different way. While Keats is unsettled by the thought of the star spending eternity alone, he is comforted by the idea that the star spends eternity in one location. In “Choose Something Like a Star”, the star’s ability to help humanity comforts Frost. While the authors are comforted in only slightly different ways in the texts, the styles of the two poems differ significantly. In “Bright Star” Keats uses elevated diction and iambic pentameter to create an eloquent poem. While in “Choose Something Like a Star”, Frost uses colloquial diction, free verse, and a slight accusatory tone to create a less formal tone.
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