What is a brief analysis of the
poem 'Bright Star' by John
"Bright Star" by John Keats expresses
the poet's desire to be like a star. The tone is
melancholic while the theme is the desire to live in
an unchanging state. The impossibility of this
desire leads to its melancholic feeling. It is quite
Analysis Bright Star By John Keats
Bright Star by John Keats
Study Guide: Summary, Analysis, Themes, Characters, Symbols: $9.99
Analysis Bright Star By John Keats: -John Keats wrote Bright Star sometime around 1819, though it was not published until 1838 after his death. Text of Bright Star by John Keats: Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art -Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night And watching, with eternal lids apart, Like Nature's patient, sleepless Eremite, The moving waters at their priestlike taskOf pure ablution round earth's human shores, Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask Of snow upon the mountains and the moors -No - yet still steadfast, still unchangeable, Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast, To feel for ever its soft swell and fall, Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever - or else swoon to death. Generally understood as a love poem for Keats' darling Fanny Browne, Bright Star refers to Polaris the North Star which remains in a fixed (steadfast) position from Earth's perspective. The narrator longs for the stability and bright assurance of the star, though not for its stark loneliness and sleeplessness as it watches over the gently changing world. Rather, the narrator longs to remain in continuous connection with "fair love's" heartbeat and breath until the moment they both die together. For more information, please see: www.reference.com
Home > Education > Homework & Study Tips > Study Guides
Analysis of Poems by John Keats: Selected Sonnets
Written by: Trent Lorcher • Edited by: SForsyth
Updated May 19, 2011 • Related Guides: Poet
Try an analysis of poems by John Keats to impress your coworkers and classmates at
your next Friday night poetry party.
Next up: ?
Analysis of Poems by John Keats: "To Solitude"
Slide 1 of 3
For instructions on how to do your own analysis of poems by John Keats (or any other poems by any other author), follow the steps explained in this analysis of "The Road Not
Taken" by Robert Frost.
Observations and Analysis of Poems by John Keats: "To Solitude"
1. Rhyme Scheme: abbaabbacddcdc
2. Meter: iambic pentameter
3. Form: "To Solitude" is a sonnet, resembling, but not identical to an
Italian/Petrarchan sonnet. Unlike a Shakespearean sonnet that wraps things up
nicely with an ending couplet, "To Solitude," as with Italian sonnets, presents the
issue in the first eight lines, and the solution in the final six lines. The turning point
in a sonnet is called the volta, which literally means turn.
4. In the first eight lines, the poet expresses his desire that if he must be alone, he
would prefer to be alone in nature as opposed to the city. In the last six lines, he
progresses even further, exclaiming to solitude that although he would "gladly
trace these scenes with thee" (9), he would rather have the companionship of a
"kindred spirit" (14).
5. The poem begins with an apostrophe to solitude in line 1. Keats tells solitude that
if he must be alone, he'd rather it not be "among the jumbled heep / Of murky
6. The middle of line 3 jolts us with a semi-colon and an abrupt change of thought.
He asks solitude, "climb with me the steep" (3), followed by a jolting dash, followed
by "Nature's observatory" and another dash in line 4. Keats breaks the poem's
rhythm, drawing emphasis to the contrast between the dirtiness of city life and the
purity of nature, a common theme with British Romantic poets.
Critical Analysis of "Bright Star"
Uploaded by jb2496 on Jan 6, 2007
Critical Analysis of "Bright Star"
A 揃right Star; by Keats, is a sonnet that shows his infatuation to be with his lover for eternity. The poem抯 main theme deals with the love and appreciation of things that are unchanging. This theme is brought up many times in the poem. For example, Keats uses a bright star and the earth to
describe his innermost desires to be immortal, unchanged, and rejuvenated. He expresses deep feelings toward his lover, and if he had to live without her, he would welcome death.
In the first two lines, Keats shows us that he would love to be around forever and full of life. 揃right
star, would I were steadfast as thou art; (1). A star implies something that is around forever and
unchanging because, in spite of occurrences throughout life, the star will reside in the sky each night. Adding bright to the star shows the importance of life to it and that to be unchanging alone is not
enough for admiration. 揘ot alone splendour hung aloft the night; (2). This line states the bright star
is not alone in its brilliance, but is accompanied by other stars. With this line, Keats expresses the
importance of companionship and the fear of being alone.
揂nd watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature抯 patient, sleepless Ermite; (3-4).
Using the term eternal lids apart projects Keats; immortality and human characteristics because he
cannot see everything and grows tired. If he could be a bright star, he would see his love endlessly without losing desire. Line four compares the earth to the bright star. Like the star, the earth is sleepless and, therefore, full of life and lasting forever. Patient implies the earth抯 ability to be
unaffected by the events that occur around it. The earth continues its course around the solar system unwaverly.
Keats then continues his poem, 揟he moving waters at their priestlike task / Of pure abolution round earth抯 human shore抯; (5-6). The water acts as a purifier to the earth like a priest blesses his children. Keats desires to have this quality in order to earn the advantage of revitalizing himself. Keats knows that he is subsequent to change and needs something to return to his pure state.
In the next two lines, Keats brings about another quality of earth, in which he has deep admiration towards. He describes snow as being a mask that hides the ugliness of the mountains and moors. These in-depth feelings show insecurity about a certain unattractiveness that he possesses.
揙r gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors; (7-8).
Keats now shows us his real intent of the poem by describing his emotional journey to be with his lover eternally and without change. 揘o ; yet still steadfast, still unchangeable / Pillow抎 upon my
fair love抯 ripening breasts; (9-10). His deep emotions appear in line ten as he yearns to be as close as possible to his love. Keats; true motive is revealed in that he strides for an eternal,
unchanging existence only to be with her.
揟o feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest; (11-12).
Now Keats explains that he has yet another desire, in which his lover be alive for eternity. The interpretation of soft fall and swell could only represent the precious breaths taken by his lover everyday of her eternal life. Her presence is mandatory in Keats; life because he possesses an
undying love for her. Keats implicitly describes being with her in a wakeful state forever without the
troubling effects of mortality, which would prevent him from spending every possible second with her due to sleep.
Keats; concludes his poem by displaying a powerful statement that if he cannot hear his lover breathe, he will welcome his own death with no regrets. 揝till, still to hear her tender-taken breath, /
And so live ever梠r else swoon to death.; (13-14). Keats shows that as long as he can be with his
lover, he will live forever. But if they must part, then he welcomes death. This portrays Keats;
feelings towards life where death brings no fear and life means nothing without his lover.
John Keats explains to us his feelings toward his human emotions, which leaves no room to explore his deeper spiritual desires. He tends dip into mystic and unexplained phenomena in the universe to
describe his feelings. This is probably due to the fact that his earthly human self is on the verge toward death and his spiritual side is fully alive.
Sonnet Structure in John Keats' "Bright Star"
Formal Analysis of the Romantic Poet's Most Famous Work
; Dec 4, 2009
; Michelle White
Formal Variation on the Traditional English Sonnet - NASA, ESA, AURA/Caltech,
19th century sonnet "Bright Star" constitutes a halfway point between Petrarchan and Shakespearean styles of sonnet; this tension is integral to the success of the poem. “Bright Star, would I were steadfast as thou art” is one of Keats’ most compelling poems, describing as it does a plea for everlasting love that would be free from the limitations of circumstance. It thus seems ironic that Keats should write the poem as a sonnet, a form noted for its rigorous, constraining structure. However, Keats will in fact shed light on the narrator’s predicament by subtly altering the sonnet form in order to enhance the narrator’s rhetoric.
Keats' Argument in “Bright Star”
Keats’ ideal state in “Bright Star” is one of freedom from the constraints of temporality. However, it is not enough that he alone should be immortal, watching the world move and change around him; he wishes to share eternity with the one object of his affections. Furthermore, he wishes for the union of himself and his lover as it would exist in complete isolation from the rest of the world. The goal of such unity would be, then, the enjoyment of the relationship at its simplest and most intense level; that is, as the communion of two souls, free from interruption or interference.
Ads by Google
Chemical Crystallography Inexpensive benchtop XRD system to determine small molecule structure www.rigaku.com
Rolex Mentor and Protégé Initiative, Professional Artists Writing for the Rolex Programme Rolexmentorprotege.com
Evidently Keats considers the interference of the outside world as something that would detract from this relationship, effectively watering it down rather than adding appreciated colour or distraction. His argument, in sum, is that love, ideally experienced, requires nothing in the world to help it along but the wholehearted participation of two lovers.
Structural Analysis – Shakespearean vs. Petrarchan
The sonnet’s slightly unconventional structure mirrors Keats’ rhetoric. “Bright Star” skews
toward the more methodical Shakespearean style of sonnet with its alternating rhymes; however,
Keats is quick to subvert the form and so project his ideas onto a more dynamic framework. Keats does this by introducing an incongruous rhyme sound at the ninth line; one that is never
“paid off” by a matching rhyme. While the volta of a Shakespearean sonnet would usually take
place at the concluding couplet, the jolting effect of this new rhyme puts it at a more Petrarchan moment: the crown of what now feels like the sestet.
Read This Next
; John Keats Bio, Poetry, and Poems
; Comparison – "Sonnet XXIII" and "Bright Star"
; Love Poetry Online
The line “No – yet still steadfast, still unchangeable” (9) thus sets up a shift in focus;
from a description in negative space of the kind of steadfastness Keats craves, to a positive description. On a thematic level, this volta establishes a clean slate, erasing the image of the aloof star watching the anonymous seas and leaving nothing but the words “steadfast” and “unchangeable”, on which the image of a different – because shared – freedom from temporality
can be built.
The three rhyme sounds that follow the volta (F-G-F, after an interruptive E) round out the proceeding three lines as though completing a quatrain, fleshing out the idea of isolated conjugal love but still resulting in a decidedly different shape and feeling from the first two quatrains. This, together with the fact that “breath” and “death” share vowel sounds with “breast”
and “unrest”, conspire to evoke the feel of a more integrally unified Petrarchan sestet.
This second hint toward the older form of sonnet makes it yet more likely that Keats intends to inject something of the Petrarchan spirit into this half of the poem; perhaps a sense of the loved one being illustrative of all of Nature’s triumphs at once, and so the only means of betterment
the poet requires.
Another way Keats melds the sonnet’s form with his implicit argument is, again, by means of the added E rhyme sound. It brings the poem’s total distinct rhyme sounds up to eight, thus making the sestet feel “stuffed”, next to the conventional quatrains – just as the poet’s lived
experience would ideally be compact and intense, undiluted by matters that do not concern himself or his love.
Significance of Structural Choice
Keats, in writing an effective sonnet whose plea is to be free from constricting circumstances, is showing exactly how one might be freed from such circumstances. The solution lies in the fact of the sonnet itself; effective not only despite but by means of the limitations of the form,
thanks to the poet’s ingenuity and creativity. Keats thus explicitly and implicitly, by means of content and form, describes cages and traps, and simultaneously breaks free of them. Further reading: Comparison – "Sonnet XXIII" and "Bright Star"