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Flashcards in Eve of St Agnes Deck (52)
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What is the significance of the Spenserian style of poetic technique used by Keats?

This style was made in 16th century and so has the effect of creating the poem's overall romantic, medieval feel. Due to its slow place, it also one that frequently blurs the line between reality and imagination, alluding that of the dream state.


What could be suggested about Madeline's dream state?

Madeline's imagination is exactly what makes her powerless—it cuts her off from what's going on around her and tricks her into thinking that their love is pure. Madeline is essentially drugged by her own imagination in order for her to remain innocent to her rape. Keats could be suggesting through this that love does not actually exist, which is the tragedy as their love only exists in the dream state which blinds Madeline to the patriarchy.


Why can Porphyro be seen as villainous?

he devises a "stratagem" to trick Madeline into thinking he's a vision delivered by an ancient Christian ritual.


What is an interpretation of
"Hoodwink'd in faery fancy" near beginning of poem?

it refers more closely to a term that was used in falconry where you'd put a hood over the falcon's head so it couldn't see and get distracted. Madeline's "regardless eyes" (64) are covered over with "faery fancy," which renders her incapable of being sensible to anything other than the vision she anticipates that night, leaving her vulnerable to Porphyro's true intentions


What is the significance of
"at the thought of those enchantments cold"?

Here Porphyro is depicted as a character who enforces reality, the binary opposition to himself and Madeline therefore indicates that their love is unattainable as they are from different worlds.


What is the significance?

"Into her dream he melted
[…] meantime the frost-wind blows
Like Love's alarum, pattering the sharp sleet
Against the window-panes; St. Agnes moon hath set"

This storm, as we find out shortly, is an "elfin-storm from faery land" (344), which means that the symbol of female chastity and power (the moon of St. Agnes) is replaced by the elfin-storm, trumpeting out a warning (the "alarum") this could infer that Madeline has been defiled and her innocence taken, and so the only way to protect her from the punishment of society having sex out of wedlock is to sustain herself in the dreamworld where she can be blind to the forced love between herself and Porhyro.


explore mythology of
"tongueless nightingale"

refers to Philomel, a woman who was raped by her brother-in-law, who then cut out her tongue to prevent her from reporting his crime.


How _______ thou art! How _____, chill, and _____!



"How chang'd thou art! How pallid, chill, and drear!"

She's woken up from her "wakeful swoon", and the reality she faces is "pallid, chill and drear", because of this she stays in the dreamworld in order to maintain the purity of love.


What is the significance of the fact that at the beginning of the poem there was
"frosted grass"
and at the end a

The pathetic fallacy initiated at the beginning of the poem creates an outset suggestive of the disorder to come. The cyclical pattern of the coldness indicated by the "frosted grass" and "storm" infers that reality is cold which implies that love therefore cannot exist in the harshness of reality


"her ______ eyes divine"- near beginning



What is the significance of
"maiden eyes divine"?

Madeline is described as an innocent "maiden", who does not centre around the materialistic focus of "plume,tiaras and all rich array", making her appear a more pure soul, which "divine" substantiates due to its relation to God. The fact that Madeline is surrounded by the corruption of society, Porphyro could be seen to release her from the reality of her life as a noble "maiden" which inevitably would lead to her being married to a nobleman, deprived from choice. In this way Keats compares Madeline to St.Agnes who was bound to God, and therefore as the myth requires her to look to "heaven with upward eyes" implies that Porphyro has been sent by God, which justifies how he was able to sneak into the castle undetected. The fact that her eyes are "divine" could express Porphyro's worship of her later calling her a "splendid angel"


"with ____, regardless eyes"- near beginning



"with vague, regardless eyes"

Her "divine eyes" have transitioned to "regardless eyes" due to the drugs given by Angela; for this reason it clear that Madeline is now vulnerable due to the absence of her clarity to which she is blinded now to Porphyry's actions. The fact that her eyes are now "vague" also insinuates her uncertainty and suggests that her vision is blurred, and as she is "hood wink'd" her mind unguarded.


"That he might ____ and ________ all unseen" near beginning



"that he might gaze and worship all unseen"

Porphyro is presented as a heroic character, his intentions appear pure with his obvious admiration for Madeline as he "worships" her portraying that he does in fact love her. These honest intentions therefore indicate to the reader that the climactic sex scene inferred in the poem is of a genuine and romantic nature, unlike an adverse perception that it is violent and unrequited. The fact that he "gaze"'s on her implies that he is in certain awe of Madeline which as well upholds the view that he admires her.


"held _________ hordes,
Hyena _______, and hot-blooded _____,"
near beginning

held barbarian hordes,
Hyena foeman, and hot-blooded lords,


"Against his _______"



What is suggested from
"Against his lineage"?

Porphyro is of a lesser social standing to that of Madeline, it could through this be insinuated that he uses her as a vehicle in order to transcend the boundaries of his social ranking due to her stature as a "maiden". It could also be inferred that he takes Madeline's virginity in order to punish those who are "against his lineage" through unifying with a noble daughter "against" their wishes; Madeline's disparity to remain pure therefore means that she has to blind herself to the reality of her rape in order to maintain her innocence, indicating when she is now his "lovely bride", as only in marriage can Madeline not be condemned by her family and by church, and only in the dream state can their love then exist.


"Love's ______ citadel" near beginning



"Love's fev'rous citadel" near beginning

Porphyro's not just trying to get into the castle, he's trying to defend his love for Madeline with a castle ("citadel") of his own.


Porphyro is described as a
"_____-lord of all the _____ and ____"



"From ______ men like thee"-angela
near beginning/middle



"I will not harm her, by all ______ I swear"



significance of
"And win perhaps that night a peerless bride,"

The verb "win" indicates that Porphyro is a symbol of the patriarchy, entrapping Madeline as his wife to be "won" rather than as an equal as lovers. The fact that he wants a "peerless" bride suggests his superficial reasoning for his admiration of Madeline based wholly on her beauty. A more interpretative point could be that "peerless" could mean that he does not want a bride who can "peer", ergo see his evil in taking her innocence.


"His poor _____ ________ back with ____ in her brain



what is an agues?
"his poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain"

an illness


"Out went the taper as she hurried in"

The absence of light indicate a shift to a more eerie setting to which Porphyro now appears as a predator and a villainous character due to Madeline's vulnerability blind to his presence.


"so pure a _____, so free from ______ taint"



"so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint"

The noun "thing" objectify's Madeline as a possession to be had rather than a person to be unified with, the fact that Porphyro is centrally concerned with her being "so pure" implies the Madonna-Whore dichotomy in which Madeline can be a woman whom he can respect and be a good wife due to her innocence. Keats through this implies that their love is unbalanced as he evidently wants to "win" Madeline as his bride because she is "free from mortal taint" and if she was to have already lost her virginity he would not worship her. Adversely, it could be suggested that Porphyro admires Madeline because she is "free from mortal taint" in regards to her purity of soul, as earlier implied in the poem she did not care for the "plume,tiaras and all rich array".