Keats’ Star

Week 3

What did I do?

Looked at context of Bright Star

John Keats is considered one of the greatest English poets and was a major figure of the Romanticist period. Both of his parents died before he was 15 years old, resulting in himself and his three siblings being raised by different relatives. He was apprenticed to a apothecary-surgeon from 1810 to 1815 before moving to a hospital to train. In Bright Star, he claims that he does not want to go back to being a surgeon. In the film, Fanny sends her siblings to buy a copy of “John Keats’ poem book”: ‘Endymion’. His first volume of poetry was published in 1817 before he toured England and Scotland the following year, returning only to nurse his dying brother, Tom; he wrote a lot of poetry in 1818. After he met Fanny Brawne he published his second volume of poetry in 1820. Once Keats became ill, the two (Fanny and himself) did not have any physical contact, rather, they would see each other through glass windows.

Keats and his friend, J. Severn, travelled to Rome in November 1820 for the warmer weather in consideration of Keats health. Keats died peacefully from tuberculosis on the 24th February, 1821.

Analysis of poem Bright Star

In John Keats’ poem, Bright Star (1819), there is a metaphor between the star and himself. The star is immortal “…watching, with eternal lids apart”, unlike himself, who was dying, yet he wants to be with Fanny, “to hear her tender taken breath, and so live ever – or swoon to death.” The idea of their love enduring past death is highlighted in these lines. The star watches the seasons change, the warmth chill and become Winter with “snow upon the mountain moors”. This is significant as it was established that the cold weather would likely kill Keats. When he became ill, the Winter was what he was ran away from through his travelling to Rome.

This poem is important to recognise not only because is it the title of the film, but because it is an analogy of Fanny and Keats’ love. The poem is riddled with symbolism suggesting purity. Keats foresaw that their love would carry on after death, especially his own. Fanny was Keats’ muse (his inspiration, personified in his poem).

(2017). John Keats.

Image: Rakozy G. Unsplash.



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