According to thefreedictionary.com, a femme fatale is a woman of great seductive charm who leads a man into trouble or comprising events. This same definition applies to the poem “La Belle Dame Sans Merci.” The poem by John Keats, a man describes a lady who is so lovely but eventually leads him to troubling events. Through the theory of femme fatales, and “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” (The beautiful lady with no pity) the poem portrays the woman as evil through the dangers of her appearance, personality, romance, and power. The poem shows that love is not what it appears to be and leads the eager, gullible knight to compromising situations.
The narrator meets a pale broken hearted knight loitering in the forest. The pale knight describes a beautiful woman as “faery’s child” (15) with “wild eyes” (16) to the narrator. The woman is beautiful but she is cruel. She does everything in her power to get the pale knight to fall in love with her. First, she uses her beauty and charm to seduce the knight by saying she loves him. Then she invites him to her “elfin grot” (small cave) (29). There she makes him fall asleep and he has nightmares of pale kings and queens shouting “La Belle Dame Sans Merci.” The knight wakes to find himself on a cold hillside all alone and no beautiful woman to be found.
The Woman with no pity uses her appearance to lure the knight in to her ways. This strategy is common practice for a seductress or an enchantress. For example, the popular girl in high school who would flirt with the smart guys just to get them to help her with her homework or other things she needed. The seductress in the poem flirts with the knight to bring him back to her “elfin grot” (small cave) to use him for pleasure (29). The enchantress was described as having “long hair” (15) and “wild eyes” (16). The perfect ideal picture of her is that of an attractive woman.
Though she is beautiful, she is as ugly as Dracula. The readers may picture her as a female Dracula; who feeds and preys off men. Currently in the poem, the knight is the soon to be victim. The beautiful woman could have sucked/fed off his emotions like Count Dracula does when he sucks the blood from his victims. This is common practice for vampires. Vampires were known for making their victims look lifeless (pale colored). In the book Keats as a Narrative Poet, Judy Little states, “The lady’s many victims are particularized-kings, princes, and warriors- and the adjective pale is emphatically repeated, approaching metaphor in the phrase death-pale” (102). This statement describes how the woman fed off the knight’s emotion to gain her more power and motivation. Her motivation was to become stronger to boost her ego through gaining the knight’s heart and soul.
Not only does her looks seduce the pale knight but her personality does also. She does not speak in the poem, but the diction shows how she uses her gestures to lure the man into becoming fascinated with her. Keats says, “She look’d at...