Bright Star! Would I Were as Steadfast as Thou Art by John Keats

Bright Star! Would I Were as Steadfast as Thou Art book cover
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How does the language in "Bright Star!" affect one's attitudes towards the speaker?

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It is hard not to read this poem and feel immense sympathy for the speaker, especially if the biographical information of Keats is taken into consideration and his suspicions of his early death. This poem shows a contradictory desire to be like the "bright star" that is able to be eternal and act almost as a hermit, watching over the beauty of his beloved, but also the desire to be loved and in relationship with somebody. To be eternal necessarily implies separation, but to be human necessary implies a finite amount of life that will eventually terminate. The speaker declares his determination to be both eternal yet also able to experience love and relationship, or, he says, he would rather die whilst experiencing the fullness of love:

Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,

And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

The speaker wants both immortality and love, and the language he uses to describe this paradoxical longing only fills the reader with sympathy for his position as the reader feels his struggles to try and capture a moment, cherish it, and hold it forever.

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