Wordsworth and Keats Sonnets' Essay

Essay by Cassie1789High School, 12th gradeA, September 2007

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William Wordsworth and John Keats ironically wrote two sonnets about the then-current Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnet forms with major contrasting attitudes. Each author holds a strong opinion on the constraints and restrictive forms of the sonnet imposed on the poetic genius of a poet. Keats believes that a poets "muse" must not be confined to the restrictive rules of sonnets whereas Wordsworth finds "solace" in such forms.

In the poem "On the Sonnet," the author, John Keats, urges other fellow poets not to let their poetic inspiration, their "Muse" die, because it is restrained to the rules of common Shakespearean sonnet forms. His use of symbolism, metaphor and allusion allows the reader to understand his view and perspective even without using a definable sonnet form. Keats starts off his poem with an allusion to the Greek princess Andromeda, who according to mythology, was bound to a cliff so that she would be consumed by a monstrous sea creature.

He uses this form of imagery to represent the inevitable fate of creative poetry, if it continues to follow the constraints of the sonnet. "Fettered in spite of pained loveliness," Keats alludes to the chained Andromeda as a symbol of the bound "loveliness" of a poets creativity and inspiration. Keats uses a sandal metaphor in order to show how sonnet formats must accommodate to the poets needs and creative thirst "sandals more interwoven and complete to fit the naked poesy".As the poem continues his message becomes clearer and more obvious to the reader. He is clearly against all then-current forms in which to write poetry, so he uses an ambiguous, obscure sonnet form to express his complete disgust for any other forms. In closing, Keats believes that if there must be rules restricting a poets freedom to write then they should...