As a Romantic, Keats maintained a tragic concern with the importance of dramatic irony or, while noted simply by Schlegel, the ‘secret irony’ in which the viewers is aware of the protagonist’s circumstance and his individual ignorance of it. In ‘Lamia’, this idea is evident both throughout the poem because Lycius can be unaware of Lamia’s true kind as a serpent, and in the extract because Lamia ‘won his heart more pleasantly by playing woman’s part’, the choice of wording and terminology by Keats here having significance for the reason that the expression ‘woman’s part’ creates a link to dramatic tragedies, where stars play the ‘part’ of any character, therefore highlighting how Lamia is actively making a fallacy in order to be with Lycius: something which will surely crack and in the end end in disaster.
This ‘secret irony’ is seen in Keat’s other poetry, as well: for example in ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’, the girl deceives the knight-at-arms into believing that she is an innocent ‘faery’s child’ in spite of being a temptress who ‘hath in thrall’ her ‘death-pale’ victims, this kind of irony is important in the tragedies of Keats and other Romantics, as it reveals the inevitable influence of selfish purposes present in human nature, allowing someone or target audience a more deeply insight into the tragedy. A biographical reading of Keats’s poetry may focus on how his tragic concerns check out the tragedies of his own life and experiences with Fanny Brawne, specifically, an readable reading of ‘Lamia’ may well follow Lycius as being Keats himself and Lamia as being Fanny Brawne, whom Keats wished to love deeply although without societal expectations and the confines of marriage. Next allegory, Keats’s tragic concerns of banned love plus the idea of doomed lovers taking refuge in magical fantasy worlds to protect themselves through the harsh truth outside are emphasised, even as are able to infer that these ideas are representative of how Keats felt about his relationship with Brawne. In addition , the line ‘nor grew they will pale, because moral fans do’ in ‘Lamia’ even more provides data for Keats’s belief that human, ‘moral’ love is definitely inferior and fated to end in fatality, as the phrase ‘pale’ can often be used by Keats surrounding issues of loss of life and weak point, such as with the knight-at-arms ‘palely loitering’ in ‘La Belle Dame’.
However , it can be argued that ‘Lamia’ is definitely not associated with these tragic concerns towards the same magnitude that Keats’s other poems are, ‘The Eve of St Agnes’ shows a fantastic juxtaposition between Madeline’s holding chamber, surrounded by luxurious imagery with the sublime which in turn acts as a safe home for very little and Porphyro, and the ‘barbarian hordes’ whom disprove of which inside of the fort and ‘storm’ outside, which will successfully displays Keats’s tragic concerns surrounding love as brought on by his own take pleasure in with Brawne. Moreover, ‘Isabella, or, The whole pot of Basil’ perhaps is far more apt in showing Keats’s tragic area of issue doomed, star-crossed love than ‘Lamia’ is, in that because of Porphyro’s sociable class Isabella and Porphyro ‘could not really in the self-same mansion dwell’, and so are fated to be kept apart just to ‘nightly weep’ over their particular situation, the word ‘weep’ suggesting feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness. Though it is possible to view Keats’s tragic concerns in ‘Lamia’ by using a biographical examining of the composition, ‘The Eve of St Agnes’ and ‘Isabella’ happen to be perhaps even more representative of his tragic issues, including setting as a means of highlighting the tragedy of doomed lovers.
Another of Keats’s tragic problems is inescapable endings, created as a result of fate and pushes of characteristics and viewed in his poetry mainly through foreshadowing. In this manner, ‘Lamia’ does not show the inevitability of the tragic ending in the same way Keats’s other poetry do, while although we can infer that Lamia and Lycius’ marriage won’t end well due to a plethora of elements, such as Lycius’ hamartia penalized ‘senseless’ and ‘blind’ to Lamia’s true identity and the countless referrals to Classical tragedies paralleling the lovers’ narrative throughout the poem, in ‘La Superbe Dame’, ‘Isabella’ and ‘The Eve of St Agnes’ we are possibly directly advised the tragic ending at the beginning of the poem (i. electronic. the nostalgic narrative of ‘La Superbe Dame’ plus the knight to be ‘alone and palely loitering’ as a result of the lady’s villainy), or the start of poem is made up of pathetic fallacy in its information of the picture which foreshadows the tragic ending: as an example, ‘The Eve of Saint Agnes’ clears with the range ‘St Agnes’ Eve- Oh, bitter relax it was! ‘, ‘bitter chill’ evoking the sense the evening can be cruel and harsh, maybe even stuck iced in this way, unavoidably doomed to ill fortune. It is only to a extent that Keats’s ‘Lamia’ is representative of his tragic concern of unavoidable endings, displaying this theme in a more nuanced way comparative to his other poetry.
We see evidence for most of Keats’s tragic issues both in the extract exactly where Lamia excites Lycius and throughout the poem, such as the topics of blindness and information, dream and reality, unacceptable love and inevitable endings which are not only common to symbole of Romantic tragedy nevertheless of Time-honored and Aristotelean tragedy, as well. ‘Lamia’ alone is certainly not fully associated with these issues, however , as it is only through looking at Keats’s other poems alongside ‘Lamia’ that we can see his tragic concerns shown in full.