Essay: Compare and contrast the two texts – The Tell-Tale Heart and La Belle Dame Sans Merci

‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ written by Edgar Allan Poe and ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ written by John Keats are two significant texts published in the 19th century. Through the study of both texts, various similarities and contrasts are perceived by the responder ranging from the genre to the setting of each text and the analytical understanding of the characters, themes and storyline.

There are various similarities perceived between the two texts.   The Tell-Tale Heart and La Belle Dame Sans Merci mutually belong to the same genre as they both consist of gothic fiction. In ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’, it follows an anonymous narrator who contends his reason for murdering an old man with an ‘evil eye’. It is indicated in the text that the narrator ‘loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I have no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this!’ which prepared him to plot the murder which therefore indicates that the text correlates to be in the gothic genre as it consists of both love and horror. Similarly, ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ belongs to the gothic genre as it comprises of a main character ‘knight-at-arms’ whose tale begins as glorious romance which is a characteristic of the gothic genre. When the poem is interpreted in different ways it can be seen to raise various themes common in the gothic genre as La Belle Dame continued to bewitch the knight. This is indicated in the text ‘She look’d at me as she did love, And made sweet moan’. ‘For sideways would she lean, and sing a faery’s song’ in which the knight ‘nothing else saw all day long.’ ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ can be read as a metaphorical warning against the powers of human imagination which is another common gothic theme. Through the understanding of both the texts having the similarity of being considered in the gothic genre, it is revealed that the texts mutually...