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  • Subject Name : English Literature

Unrequited Love: La Bella Dame Sans Merci

The theme of unrequited love is prevalent in the poem “Le Dame Sans Merci”.

Based on this poem “La Bella Dame Sans Merci” I agree; unrequited love is prevalent.

Unrequited love occurs when the person being loved does not reciprocate in equal measure. Unrequited love is a one sided love that is not reciprocated by the beloved. The beloved may consciously decide to reject the love or may not be aware of the admirer’s strong and deep romantic affection. Requite simply means to repay and in this context it indicates unfairness when one person feels strong love towards the other but in return does not get the same strong love from the other person and the usual expectation of love equally and strongly felt by both parties is a celebration in various occasions, unrequited love implies the pains of love and in pleasure, there is pain

In La Bella Dame Sans Merci, the poem starts with lonely and brokenhearted narrator suffering from both emotional and physical pain as expressed in line 6 “So haggard and so woebegone?”. The fairy child seems to fall in love with the knight the same way he is falling for her. In some occasions she shows love to knight, in line 19 “she look’d at me as she did love” and line 20 “And made sweet moan” are signs of love which gave knight to feel they are in love and she feels the same affection and deep love towards him. The fairy child took him to her home and she made him feel comfortable. This action would have made him believe the fairy child is interested in love just like him and so experience deep affection in equal measure. The knight would have experience no disappointment if in the beginning of their affair, the fairy child would have shown no interest which made him to believe that she loved him in equal measure.

Knights’ stressful feelings could be because she found his lady is gone. When he realized that this lady never really loved him the way he thought she did, he suffers and gets disappointed. Towards the end of the poem, Knight feels he is alone but he does not show hatred towards the lady. We learn from his dreams that the knight realized the lady had left him and in his thoughts he started condemning her and shifting blame towards her. Also, from knight’s dream its where we can tell the lady had felt in love with him as explained from the spectral images which visited the knight in his dream and reveals to him that the lady has no mercy and she is pitiless. These images experienced in the dream could be indication of knight’s knowledge that the lady had left him. The dream may be a justification, an approach of making her out to be evil so that he can cope the pain of realizing his love was unreciprocated and in love there is desolation.

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