Comparing The Stars Of Bright Star And Choose Something Like A Star

960 words - 4 pages

Comparing the Stars of Bright Star and Choose Something Like a Star          

Keats "Bright Star" and Frost's "Choose Something Like a Star" although similar in their address to a star differ in form, tone and theme. The latter contains an illusion to the former that brings Keats' themes into the poem. In order to compare these poems it is necessary to look carefully at their themes and constructions. "Bright Star" is a sonnet in traditional iambic pentameter. Its tone is elegiac as it celebrates the woman's beauty and his love for her in his plea for steadfastness. The poem opens with an apostrophe to the star which calls our attention to his plea. The verbs "would" and "were" indicate his wish to be like the star whom he addresses as "thou." The star is "hung" in the night, a pleasant image, and he uses a simile to compare it with Eremite, a hermit, who presumably sat apart from the world watching. The eyelids of this star (the star is given anthropomorphic qualities) are eternally apart -- always watching, "patiently" and "sleeplessly." Keats then enumerates what this star watches. It watches water -- which is also steadfast as indicated by the comparison "priest-like." The waters that surround the land Keats says are performing ablutions or cleansings and blessings on the land. The star also gazes upon the snow. He uses the metaphor of snow as a "mask" (more personification) as it hides the mountains and moors. The "m" alliteration emphasizes the falling of the snow. The repetition of "of" underlines the parallel structure and idea of the two scenes the star regards. The rhythm of this 2nd quatrain is slow and peaceful like the scene. Then Keats puts a "No -- " which interrupts this peaceful rhythm; he does not want to look at pastoral scenery but at his lover. The "still steadfast, still unchangeable" emphasizes the fact that this constancy is similar to that of the star regarding the earth. The poet wishes to be lying on his lover's breast which he implies is like a pillow and describes as "ripening" which emphasizes her fertility. Line 11 has a rhythm of a "fall and swell" like her breathing. He will be in a state of "unrest", yet a happy one. The repetition of "still" underlines his intense desire and the "t" alliteration the tenderness of her breath. The final line sets up a contrast and the hyphen divides it. He will live forever this way, or else he will die in a "swoon" -- a faintness of overwhelming love. Either way he spends eternity faithful and steadfast to his lover. The rhyme in the final 2 lines adds to his summing-up quality of the couplet where he expresses his main theme -- to be as steadfast to her as a "bright star" is to...

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