5 Pages


WithRachel Schulkins

The female in Keats's poetry is a feminine creation that challenges conservative morality and fragments the false image of female purity. By constantly referring to Lamia's dual nature as the female and the serpent, the innocent maid and the sexual enchantress, Keats deliberately breaks the general portrayal of women as either lawful or lustful. Isabella, Madeline and Lamia are depicted as sexual figures who simply wish to affirm their sexual feminine identity. The rendering of female identity as both sensual and yet vulnerable, pure as well as demonic complicates our understanding of the female, which portrays her more as a realistic and somewhat ambiguous character. Keats's wish to educate and cultivate the tastes of both his lover and his sister is in line with the conduct books and the progressive ideas of the time, which emphasised the improvement of the female mind over external accomplishments.