Isabella; or The Pot of Basil Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Isabella; or The Pot of Basil Deck (83)
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"_____ Isabel, ____ ______ Isabel" Very beginning

poor simple


"a young _______ in ______ eye"



Why is
"They could not" used within the first stanza?

Keats continually uses negation to heighten the tragedy of the lovers fall, as the promise of "they could" is immediately taken away. This is significant because from the outset the reader is aware that their love will inevitably succumb to the rules of society which forbid their union.


"some _______" first stanza



What is the significance of
"He might not in house, field or garden stir"? Second stanza

Keats negates the concept of the pastoral ideal of love through the negative "not" which foreshadows the futility of their relationship. The boundless limit of love presented by the "house, field or garden," reflects Keats' Romantic lens on his poetry which contributes to the tragedy of their fallen love when Lorenzo is murdered as he suggests that love is unattainable in the cultural hierarchy which promotes inequality amongst both class and gender.


what is a "lute-string" and why is this important?
"her lute-string gave an echo of his name"

This is a medieval instrument which employs the courtly romance between Lorenzo and Isabelle as it emphasized the aspects of nobility and chivalry in the medieval period. Keats perhaps could be suggesting that Madeline and Lorenzo's love has transcended the limitations imposed by society as courtly love was the term used between a noble man and a maiden, this indicates his nobility as a lover. The elongated phonetic effect of "echo" appeals to the senses, conveying their everlasting love.


"her _________ gave an ____ of his name" Beginning of poem



"her face ___ _______ to the same ______" beginning of poem

was turned


"constant __ ___ _________ would he watch"

as her vespers


"_________ days and days did he ___ pass" Beginning



"______ quest" beginning of poem



"_____,/________ how I love thee ,_______ how near/My soul is to ______" near beginning of poem



"_____ upon the air" near beginning of poem



What is the significance of "tread upon the air"?

Keats explores the fragility of their love as delicate, the fact that they are also compared as "Twin roses" which are "blown apart" by "zephers" contribute to the idea Keats has created that they can be easily parted by natural forces. It is suggested therefore that society is a natural force which determines their future just as air can "blow apart" "twin roses." The visual imagery provided by "tread upon the air" invites the reader to the dreamworld which they have accessed in order to be together; out of the societal confinements of the real world. Moreover, as "air" describes a free and unconfined space, this expresses the loves transcendence from the "age of reason" which dominated the 17th into 18th and into the 19th century and was a time in which pure love could not exist due to the constraints of society and the politics of love. Their love is further reinforced as "air" also is a necessity for sustenance in living beings, therefore Keats could be foreshadowing Isabella's tragic fall when Lorenzo is murdered as their love is presented as being something necessary to her survival, as essential as "air".


What is a "zepher"?
"Twin roses by the zephyr blown apart"

In classical mythology, the west wind. In pastoral poetry, any gentle breeze


"twin _____ by the _______ blown apart" near beginning of poem



"twin roses by the zepher blown apart" near beginning of poem

The unity of the "twin roses" suggests that both lovers follow one tragedy, foreshadowing that with the murder of Lorenzo, the death of Isabella would shortly follow. The "zepher", hints to the pastoral, a gentle breeze could possibly indicate that their love is so fragile built on the foundations of forbidden secrecy that even the "zephyr" could blow them "apart."
It is implies that they will meet an inevitable fate due to omnipotent forces these are almost mythical in effect in the governance of society. Societal order is arguably exposed by Keats as being oppressive over aspects of love. In turn, the "zephyr" could symbolize the shaped expectations of love embedded by a materialistic, capitalist driven society which the 19th century arguably was. The unification of Isabella and Lorenzo as a couple is thus predetermined by social opinion as wrong, they are tarnished by their social class and so will be inevitably "blown apart" by the force of societal limitations. If the "zephyr" was to symbolise the boundaries imposed by society then it could in turn be assumed that in accordance to perceptions at this time, the love between a noble lady and a poor man was against nature which the natural imagery ("roses" "zephyr") may signify. Moreover, the "roses" itself may insinuate certain tragic fate as the thorns on them could suggest difficulty in their unity. The classical mythological association to "zepher" as well contributes to the idea that their love can only exist in the dream world out of the entrapment of reality which emphasises Keats as a Romantic poet and so assumes love as being an existence which can only be an entity in an idealistic world.


"and not my passion shrive" near beginning of poem

The poem contains examples of religious imagery, such as in reference to Lorenzo being a ‘palmer’ which is significant in establishing their love early in the poem as a pure conception. Just as the pilgrim ("palmer") seeks a shrine where he may worship God, Lorenzo needs a woman to worship, through whom he may worship in "Love's eye". Keats uses the word ‘shrive’, (i.e. confess) and so arguably it could be suggestive that just as a "palmer" cannot be at peace until he has confessed his sins , Lorenzo similarly has the necessity of confessing his love in a way that is indicative of being sanctified by God.


What quote suggests forbidden love near beginning of poem?

"before the dusk/Had taken from the stars its pleasant veil"


"before the _____/had taken from the stars its _______ ____"

pleasant veil


What is a hyacinth?

This is a flower of the lili family, a common funeral flower which therefore foreshadows their inevitable tragic death.


"richest _____ in ______ flowers" near beginning/middle



What could Keats mean by
"richest juice in poison flowers"
near beginning/ middle

Keats here suggests that in the "rich[ness]" of love there is "poison" as in this case, their love is in fact a substance that is capable of causing death. As a Romantic poet Keats emphasises that love is the "richest juice", which juxtaposes the perception of her brothers whom visualise love as a commodity to exploit for monetary gain and thus allows a moral message to communicate to the audience of the debased substance of marriage during the 1800's. Through implying the danger of love with "poison" near the beginning of the poem, Keats both foreshadows the tragic inevitability of the constructs fate but also structurally emulates the gradual death of their relationship, the "richest love", which begins with Lorenzo's death and eventually ends in Isabella's over a long period. It is also significant that directly after the mention of "poison" the brothers are introduced, suggesting the spread at this point forward of the deterioration of their fate.


"enriched with ________ _________" near beginning/middle

ancestral merchandise


"enriched with ancestral merchandise"
near beginning/middle

Irrefutably Keats illustrates "fair Isabella"'s monetary value to her "two brothers" as "merchandise" in which belongs to them to exploit. At this point the dominance of the patriarchal society is evident in demonstrating the demise of the lovers as the "ancestral" privilege of the brothers act as a symbol for the hierarchy of society who set the boundaries in which entrap those at their mercy.


"red-_____ accounts" early middle



What can be said about the
"red-lined accounts" early middle?

Their ‘red-lined accounts' brings to mind their neat account books at the same time as suggesting the human blood for which their accumulation of wealth was responsible. As Keats depicts the two brothers as a symbol of the cruelty of the social ranking in which the elite dominate, he is thus clear in foreshadowing the death of Lorenzo in being an addition to the "red-lined accounts".


"________ pride and __________ cowardice" early middle



"hawks of ship-mast forests'

Keats uses the image of ‘hawks of ship-mast forests’ to suggest that, just as birds pounce on their prey, so the brothers fell rapaciously on the trading vessels which put into port.


"these men of cruel ____" early middle