Description: This analysis of Keats's poem proffers evidence and arguments to support the contention that The Eve of St. Agnes presents allegorically the poet's speculations regarding the relationship between eros and agape, speculations which include a sharp criticism of Christianity and a model for a new, more "humanistic" system of salvation. The union of Madeline and Porphyro symbolizes the reconciliation of the two opposing types of love in an apocalyptic marriage styled on the Biblical union of Christ and the Church. The irony inherent in the poem arises from Keats's use of Christian myths, symbols, and sacraments to accomplish this purpose.
Date: December 1986
Creator: Gilbreath, Marcia L. (Marcia Lynn)
Partner: UNT Libraries