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Dante

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Submitted By playuyang
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In Keats's version of 'Decameron' he uses the original as a base to reflect his own style and writing techniques. He basically makes it his own and he does this in a number of ways. The most obvious of these adaptations is the fact that Keats has turned a novel style piece of writing into poetic verse.

'Fair Isabel, poor simple Isabel!

Lorenzo, a young palmer in loves eye!'

This is the first two lines of Keats's Isabella, from the start Keats uses imaginative description, this again is another difference of the two. Boccaccio's writing is far more factual, this creates a good affect but Keats chooses the other option and lets his imagination and also the reader's imagination to tell the story.

'Know then that there were at Messina three young men, that were brothers and merchants, who were left very rich on the death of their father' As you can see by comparing the two beginnings of each piece, it is easy to see their differences already. In the beginning of Keats's version he immediately refers to the lovers, he bases his whole poem around the love of these two people, however Boccaccio's original is quite different, he starts off by talking of the brothers, and he instead of love his story revolves around murder and treachery. This major difference could be put down to the fact that the two pieces were written 4 centuries apart, Boccaccio's being written in the 14th and Keats's in the 18th. This I feel plays a huge part in the differences between them, writing styles had changed dramatically since Boccaccio wrote the original 'Decameron'. This is clearly visible in the languages they both use, Boccaccio uses old contemporary grammar and Keats's uses a far more modern style and language. 'With every morn their love grew tenderer

With every eve deeper and tenderer still;

He might not in house, field, or garden stir,

But her full shape would all his seeing fill'

Above you can see the kind of language Keats's uses, it is all modern and typical of the period in which it was written.

"What means this? What hast thou to do with Lorenzo,

That thou shouldst ask about him so often? Ask us no more,

Or we will give thee such answer as thou desrervest."

Above is a quote from Boccaccio's 'Decameron', as you compare the language of both quotes you can see the time difference between them as Boccaccio's language is completely different to Keats's.
Boccaccio's language in some ways reminds me of Shakespeare's style and choice of vocabulary, but instead of choosing to write on love,
Boccaccio writes of murder. I feel there is a reason behind the contrast between the centres of both pieces, Boccaccio's murder story may have been influenced by the Black Death as it was present around that time, throughout the original there are references to sinister things like the severed head of Lorenzo, again Boccaccio isn't afraid to express his thoughts with harsh images.

'There she shut herself up in her room with the head, and kisses it a thousand times in every part, and wept long and bitterly over it,

till she had bathed it in her tears.'

Boccaccio seems to dedicate a lot of his story on the description of this graphic image, he emphasises the murder far more than Keats,
Keats dedicates little time on the description of the murder and the head, his main aspect is the relationship between the two lovers.

The brothers I feel play a large role in both stories, each writer interestingly have their own opinions of the brothers and this reflects in their writing.

'With her two brothers this fair lady dwelt,

Enriched from ancestral merchandise,

And for hem many a weary hand did swelt'

This was taken from Keats's version, I feel that Keats has placed a personal burden upon the characters of the brothers. Keats had lost his brothers to TB and I sense a sort of maliciousness in his writing when describing the two brothers. They appear to me as shadowy characters that play an influential role in the piece.

Boccaccio however sees the brothers in a different light. To him they are the main part of his story; they create all the murder and sinister acts. They watch over Lisabetta as she sneaks off to the servants room, they are so ashamed of this they kill Lorenzo.

'All unwitting, was observed by the eldest of the brothers, who, albeit much distressed by what he had learnt'

One of the main parts of Keats's adaptation is in verses 35 - 43, in these verses the ghost of Lorenzo is described, it is the main part of the story and keates spends seven verses on it 56 lines in total so it takes up a large chunk off his adaptation. However Boccaccio hardly takes any notice of this detail, his ghost scene is a mere ten lines, just from this it highlights the main difference between the two, once again Keates emphasises the relationship between Lorenzo and Isabella, in his ghost scene, Lorenzo's ghost begins to weep before Isabella.
The vision starts dark and purposeful and it leads to Lorenzo showing
Isabella where he is buried.

'It was a vision. - In the drowsy gloom, the dull of midnight, at her

Couch's foot Lorenzo stood, and wept: the forest tomb had marred his glossy hair which once could shoot lustre into the sun'

The above quote is taken from Keats's version of verses 35 - 43.
Keates spends far more time and care over the vision scene than
Boccaccio, I feel this is because the lovers are together again and he wants to emphasise how strong their love remains for one another.
However in Boccaccio's original vision scene is gar less complex, with only 10 lines spent on the event it is hardly a main part of the original. 'His clothes torn to shreds and sodden; and thus, as she thought, he he spoke: - "Lisabetta, thou dost nought but call me, and vex thyself for my long tarrying, and bitterly upbraid me with thy tears'

This emphasis on the ghost and vision of Lorenzo highlights the main difference between the two writers and their unique styles. Boccaccio once again has concentrated on the mysterious and more grim side of the vision, 'his clothes torn to shreds and sodden' while Keates does the opposite and describes how he once was, 'his glossy hair which could once could shoot lustre into the sun'. Even though Boccaccio does not write a great deal on the vision the intent of mystery still remains. Also in the vision scene, Keates's unlike Boccaccio refers to beauty, and warmth. Instead Boccaccio concentrates on the dark and ugly side of the vision. This is a great scene to compare the two writers by as it is perfect to stamp individuality upon.

One of Keates's inspirations as a writer is 'Goethe' and in particular
' The sorrows of young Werther' Straight away from this title I can see the similarity between 'Isabella or the pot of basil' and Goethe's poem 'the sorrows of young Werther'.

I feel the most obvious similarity just from looking at the two poems is that the first line of Keates's 'Isabella or the pot of basil' is very similar in that they both display sorrow or sympathy towards a character. 'Fair Isabel, poor Isabel'

This is the first line on Keates's poem and you can see straight away the similarity between the two.

' A man, confined as he may be, he none the less still preserves in in his heart the sweet sensation of freedom, and the knowledge that he can quiet this prison whenever he wishes.'

This is a paragraph taken from a paragraph of 'the sorrows of young werther'. This poem was written in 1774 so there is quiet a time difference between the two. This shows that keates had obviously studied and admired Goethe's writing and it inspired him to write his own. So through this analysis we have seen many contrasts between the two writers. One obviously being the time difference, this is always going to affect the differences in vocabulary and style. This is shown by the lack of interest in love by Boccaccio and the opposite by Keates.

Also the difference between the two is individuality; every writer is different and chose to write in different ways.

The main differences were the different points of concentration; from my view it seems that they are completely opposite. Keates concentrating on the love and relationship between the two lovers. And
Boccaccio concentrating more on the mystery and sinister front of the poem, which was popular for this time.

I find these differences very interesting for they have sprung up from the same poem.…...

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