Bright Star Summary and Analysis by John Keats

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John Keats- John Keats is one of the greatest poets in the history of English Literature, especially among the poets who wrote along the genre of romantic-lyric. He was born in London, on October 31, 1795 and only 54 poems of his had been published before he died at the very young age of 25

Bright Star- Bright Star was composed by Keats between 1819 and 1820. Many critics assume that this romantic lyric was written by Keats in honour of his fiancé, Fanny Brawne.

Setting of the Bright Star-

This poem belongs to the genre of romantic-lyric and has a melancholy undertone to it. Justifying its genre, the poem is set in the form of a conversation with self, portraying the poet’s wishes and emotions.

Poetic Devices in Bright Star-

Alliteration: “yet still stedfast, still unchangeable”

Repetition“No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable”

Personification: Star is personified with the use of the word “thou” as a means to address it.

Summary of Bright Star-

The poet begins the poem by wishing to be like the “stedfast” star, wherein he desires to be like the star for its quality of remaining still and unchanged. The poet’s desires portrayed are in contrast to the life of a living being which is ever changing and never still. The poet is fast in eliminating the limitations of being a star though, when he clarifies that he does not wish for the loneliness that seems to accompany the star “not in lone splendour”, but wishes for its patience.  The poet wants to be unchangeable, he wants to be like the star who watches the snow covered mountains, the moving waters and the changes occurring every second on the earth, without these changes affecting it.  The cause for this impossible desire is mentioned by the poet in the following lines. He wishes to remain still and unchangeable while lying in the lap of his lover. The poet’s expressed wish is not exactly to become unchangeable but to stop the time from moving. He wishes to still the moments he spends in the arms of his loved one, wishing for the moment to still and wishing to remain still himself, to cherish the moment forever. The poet wishes to live forever “pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast”, feeling her “soft breaths” and if he cannot live like that, then he might as well be swooned to death.

Critical Analysis of Bright Star-

This poem is undoubtedly beautiful in its composition and expresses the raw emotions of a lover brilliantly. Keats, using powerful imagery is able to portray the impossible desire to still the time and manages to convey the reality of life which is strikingly in contrast to this desire, the mortal life which is constantly changing.

Tone of Bright Star-

The tone of the poem is melancholy in the sense of its description of an unachievable desire yet has an undertone of softness justifying its genre of the romantic lyric.

Conclusion- “Bright Star” by John Keats is an amazing composition with its vivid imagery and the poet’s ability to merge two contradictions, the fantasy of remaining unchanged and the reality of constant change.

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