Lamia - a trivial story of no real significance?

Discussion on the works of John Keats.

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Lamia - a trivial story of no real significance?

Postby Apollonius » Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:26 pm

Man marries snake! It all goes horribly wrong. Just an everyday story of wriggly folk?

How about this for a reading? Lycius's dream/fantasy in which he loves Lamia is a delusion destroyed by the power of fact and logic which the Romantics found so limiting. You could argue that Keats's sympathies are with Lycius and that nasty old Apollonius is just the wrecker of beauty and the sense world and thus an enemy.

On the other hand you can see Apollonius as a friend of beauty and truth. Lamia may be beautiful, but she isn't true. She is a snake!

The immortal products of the imagination will stand the Apollonius test. Lamia won't. She is nothing but a self indulgent dream, and there is evidence in the poem that she will not withstand the trial of reality - I am thinking of the bit where Lycius hears the sound of horns from outside the window and thinks for a moment. Lamia cannot stand this.

Just to get you all going......
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Postby Saturn » Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:46 am

Excellent topic for discussion.

I agree with most of your analysis.

Apollonius represents reason, intellect, reality, order and the establishment.

Keats' sympathies are indeed with Lycius as the dreamer, the romantic, the fantasist but that does not mean that he paints Apollonius necessarily in a bad light or as a destroyer.

There is room in the world for people like Lycius and like Apollonius.

Apollonius' role is that of the teacher, the philosopher. His revelation saves Lycius from the horror of his situation - the horror of delusion, folly and entrapment.

Thinking of the time period in which this was written should we perhaps see Brown as Apollonius, Keats as Lycius and Fanny as the Lamia?
Last edited by Saturn on Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Apollonius » Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:49 pm

But Lycius is the fool.

His dreams do not become real as do Adams in Paradise Lost.

I think that is important.
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Postby Apollonius » Fri Nov 24, 2006 5:29 pm

Nothing new on this since Tuesday? I feel like a thread killer!

Come on. Take sides here.

Vote for Lycius as the character who "lives the dream" of a world of pure sensual pleasure and imagination.

OR

Vote for Apollonius as the "harsh but fair" bringer of scientific truth to a dangerous delusion.

Bet you can't guess whose side I'm on!

I'm not trying to trivialise this debate, by the way, just polarise and maybe invigorate it.
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Postby Saturn » Fri Nov 24, 2006 11:33 pm

I can identify with Lycius more I suppose.

Hence this little ditty.

Lycius' answer to Apollonius.

"Give me the dream
The dangerous dream.
Give me the delusion
Give me the deceit.

Lamia's coils hold me,
Sensually? for sure - I
Love her deadly grip:
I suffocate gladly.

Apollonius!! farewell.
Bear my heart in mind:
Love, not my reason
Survives my wounds."
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Well done

Postby Apollonius » Thu Dec 07, 2006 6:19 pm

I wish I had the abilty to write in kind, but I am dreary old Apollonius you know!

You could argue, as in the Eve of St Agnes, that the harsh reality of death gets us all anyway, regardless!
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Re: Well done

Postby Saturn » Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:02 pm

Apollonius wrote:I wish I had the abilty to write in kind, but I am dreary old Apollonius you know!

You could argue, as in the Eve of St Agnes, that the harsh reality of death gets us all anyway, regardless!


Ah well too true, too true.
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Postby orsi » Sat Jan 20, 2007 11:44 pm

Hello guys,

I came accross this forum while searching about John Keats and found your contributions very interesting.

However, what about the interpretation that Lamia is not really a serpent.

"I was a woman, let me have one more
A woman's shape, and charming as before.
I love a youth of Corinth - O the bliss!
Give me my woman's form, and place me where he is. "
(I, 117-120)

These lines suggest that she used to have the shape of a woman and is imprisoned into the body of a serpent when we meet her in the poem.

What if the form that Hermes gives her back is her original, real form. Then she is not a serpent in female form, but it is at the beginning when she is a woman forced into the form of a serpent.

I do not know how to interpret those lines differently. They are so straightforward.

And Lamia is associated with evil because of the Biblical connotations of the serpent. And if her true identity is that of a woman's and not of a serpents then she does not need to be associated with evil forces that destroy Lycius.

Please comment on the interpretation of Lamia, I would be interested hear thing for and against equally.
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Postby Saturn » Sat Jan 20, 2007 11:49 pm

Interesting point, I've never thought of it that way before.

You may be right.

Welcome to the forum orsi :D
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Postby orsi » Sat Jan 20, 2007 11:59 pm

thank, Saturn!

I'm just getting familiar with the site, it's great! :)
I also hope to meet individual opinions that I have never thought of myself. It broadens ones view of things.
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Postby Apollonius » Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:01 pm

I have a lot of sympathy with Orsi's point. The question still remains as to what kind of woman she was. She is described as Circean at one point, which I guess identifies her with the witch in the Odyssey. This would suggest that Lycius fate is even less desirable. Far from being in a perfect sensory world, he is " a serpent's prey" as my eponym has it.
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Postby fleshyniteshade » Fri Mar 30, 2007 4:03 am

have you read up about lamia in Greek myth?
"aye, my envious dreams do shyly express thy tenderous lips fairly laced with sensous honey and I like aroused virgins dwell upon such dining"
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Postby Saturn » Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:48 pm

Alsun, what exactly is the point of you posting that? :roll:
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The point

Postby Apollonius » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:58 pm

Perhaps she just wanted to revive this most fascinating thread!

:wink:
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