A gordian shape of dazzling hue
Serpent Symbolism in Keats’s Poetry
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Serpent symbolism plays an important role in Keats’s rich animal imagery both on a quantitative level and on a qualitative one. Through images of dazzling, twisted, suffocating snakes Keats gives form to some of his most important ideas as well as anxieties about poetic creation. In particular, snakes convey the tension between the more unconscious and the more conscious elements of the creative psyche, which is reflected in the linguistic texture of the poems. Besides, serpent symbolism shows how Keats’s initial complete adhesion to the predominant Romantic view of the time was complicated and reinterpreted in highly personal terms. By recovering some Augustan notions, this young poet attempted a partial, problematic re-appropriation of the recent past Romanticism had utterly dismissed.
- Simona Beccone,
- Università die Pisa