What is the significance of Moneta in John Keats' "The Fall of Hyperion"?  

Moneta shows us that true artistic vision can only come through suffering.

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Moneta's significance lies in the fact that she shows us that true artistic vision can only come through suffering. In that sense, she's very much a paradigmatic figure of Romanticism. Moneta it is who challenges the speaker to climb the steps of the temple even though doing so causes him considerable pain, a pain so bad that it is all too reminiscent of Apollo's suffering when he "died into life" in Hyperion.

In her infinite wisdom Moneta knows that the poet speaker must experience pain, sometimes quite considerable pain, if he is to create enduring works of art. And it is only by successfully climbing the steps of the temple that the speaker is able to answer Moneta's detailed questions concerning poetry and visions. That the speaker's able to pass the test, thus gaining an insight into what is true poetry and what is false, is in no small part due to Moneta's encouragement and guidance.

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Moneta is an important figure in this poem, leading the narrator to true poetry and a chance to share her visions.

The narrator, who has been asleep, awakens in front of a temple. There Moneta greets him. She is a sad but wise woman in Grecian clothing holding a golden censor. She tells him she is the last one left in a deserted place:

I Moneta, left supreme
'Sole priestess of this desolation.

Her temple, too, is the last one left after a war.

Moneta tells him that because he is a person of good will she will be kind to him and use her powers to show him visions. The narrator is frightened by her but also has a very strong desire to see the memories she holds in her mind. He calls her the "Shade of Memory."

In order to fulfill this desire, the speaker must pass Moneta's test. He must climb a set of stairs where he will meet suffering and death in order to be reborn as a true poet. Only then can he see the vision of the Titans and Hyperion that Moneta is able to share with him.

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Moneta’s significance is that she is a figure of wisdom, a priestess or prophetess who enlightens the poet about many things. She cuts a sombrely impressive figure as she tends the shrine of the long-fallen god, Saturn: she is ‘the tall shade in drooping linens veil’d’, alone, mysterious, full of ancient learning and valuable advice which she imparts to the questing, doubtful poet in the midst of his vision. For instance, she explains to him the proper role of the poet as opposed to mere dreamers who shun the world;  she gives him to understand that the true poet, like the true prophet, must engage with the world, share in its sorrows, and seek to heal.

 Moneta’s name underlines her role, as the name is derived from the Latin monere, which means to warn, to instruct. Furthermore Moneta was the Roman counterpart of the Greek goddess of memory, Mnemosyne, who was also, by Zeus, the mother of the nine Muses. The Muse is an important figure for many poets, symbolic of creative inspiration. Moneta, then, is also important as the Muse-figure in this poem; she functions additionally as the protector of memory, the keeper of knowledge from ancient times.

 The sorrowing, solitary figure of Moneta also does much to enhance the whole dream-like feel of the poem. The Fall of Hyperion consciously follows the model of Dante’s Divine Comedy, which has the same visionary feel and also features a muse-figure (Beatrice) to guide the poet. In this way the poem differs from its predecessor, titled simply Hyperion, which Keats composed more in the vein of Milton’s great epic Paradise Lost.

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