La Belle Dame sans Merci Questions and Answers
by John Keats

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In the poem "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," what is the lady like that the knight meets?

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The lady is the bane of any man who crosses her path: the apotheosis of the "femme fatale" who leads men to their ruin. But then, this is no ordinary woman; she is a "faery's child," an indication that she is an enchanted figure with strange, magical powers, which she exerts over all men who cast eyes upon her. In her presence, these men are instantly captivated by her extraordinary beauty.

For good measure, the lady has wild eyes. One might not think there's anything especially beautiful about this, yet this crucial detail serves to highlight the extraordinary power she exerts upon the hapless knight. The wildness in her eyes once more speaks of magic and enchantment, and the knight is himself suitably enchanted by the force of the lady's penetrating gaze.

Whether or not it's because of her status as a fairy, there's something coldly inhuman about the lady. She leads the love-struck knight, like so many before him, back to her cosy little grotto where she lulls him into a deep sleep...

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