Women are described as dangerous in most Romantic poetry. Usually woman seem to be beautiful, kind and tender creature from the first look, but subsequently reader recognizes the real personality while reading whole text. The woman can arise like hard-boiled, dangerous, or sometimes full of mystery personality. These figures of women use John Keats in ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad’, S. T. Coleridge in ‘Christabel’, and A. C. Swinburne in ‘The Garden of Proserpine’. Women in these writings are always beautiful, dangerous and having a lot of power.
Prosepine is not a simple woman, she is an immortal person, she has a role of goddess of death and eternal sleep. A. C. Swinburne points an interesting way of showing her beauty:
‘Pale, beyond porch and portal,
Crowned with calm leaves, she stands
Who gathers all things mortal
With cold immortal hands;
Her languish lips are sweeter
Than love’s who fears to great her
To men that mix and meet her
From many times and lands.’ (T.N.A.O.E.L. p.1550)
Appearance of Prosepine is closely related to her personality. Pale skin, cold hands- it is the image of dead person. But still she is alive; she has a lot of power. To tell the truth the appearance of lady Prosepine shows her immortal nature and connection to the underworld. A crown of calm leaves is also important detail in this writing; it accent that Prosepine is not a simple woman. Actually the symbol of crown shows her power, unusual nature. One more, very important thing is her behavior with simple people. This woman is dangerous; Prosepine is waiting for all men:
‘She waits for each and other,
She waits for all men born;
Forgets the earth her mother
The life of fruits and corn;’ (T.N.A.O.E.L. p.1550)
There is stressed that goddess Prosepine is waiting for all men; so she is interested only in male. It means that eternal sleep goddess invites all mail to her garden, even if they do not want it. It was said that men are faired by this person, they even do not want to meet her, but Prosepine has a lot of power, which helps her to tempt them in her garden. The symbol of garden is also very important in this writing. Garden is like a symbol of perpetuity. But garden has no growth of moor and is bloomless. So it means that life there is not very wonderful.
‘I am tired of tears and laughter,
And men that laugh and weep;’ (T.N.A.O.E.L. p.1549)
This quote shows changeable and unpleasant life. People who live in the garden are not happy, carefree, they suffer from boring life.
So Prosepine carry danger for men, bad things after herself.
S. T. Coleridge uses mysterious, ghoulish figure of woman. Vampire conflicted in the person of Gerlandine. Lady Gerlandine seems be a simple, underdog unfortunate person, who needs help, from the first look. Not only has she seemed a poor person, but also beautiful and sinless:
‘There she sees a damsel bright,
Dressed in a silken robe of white,
That shadowy in the moonlight shore:
The neck that made that white robe wan,
Her stately neck and arms were bare;
Her blue-veined feet unsandaled were,
And wildly glittered here and there
The gems entangled in her hair.
I guess, ’twas frightful there to see
A lady so richy clad as she-
Beautiful exceedingly!’ (T.N.A.O.E.L. p.358)
Actually it is an image of witch. In most of poetry witches wore well and very weak. The image of Gerlandine is the same. Verily she wanted only to expiate her fault or her wrong by giving over her suffering for Christabel and she does it. This lady has much power and charm that Sir Leoline, father of poor lady Christabel led forth Gerlandine:
‘Yet he, who saw this Gerlandine,
Had deemed her sure a thing divine:
Such sorrow with such grace she blended,
AS if she feared she had offended
Sweet Christabel, that gentle maid!
And with such lowly tones she prayed
She might be sent without delay
Home to her fathers mansion.’ (T.N.A.O.E.L. p.368)
So the lady Gerlandine has a lot of power, she brings to believe strange man in her. As you can notice this lady is high-powered woman, and she also draws her ability to show herself as week, helpless and simple person. Gerlandine acted her sorrow so assuredly that Sir Leoline believed in her. So Gerlandine turns in another person, she assumes the personality of Christabel and acts as she heartily speaks with sorrow supernatural power helps her.
The third poem ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad’ written by John Keats also describes powerful, dangerous and beautiful woman, femme-fatale woman. La Belle Dame is also numinous personality. So for this reason this character is either dange4rous person for others. Danger is perceptible from her appearance. Man (hero of the poem) describes that dame:
‘I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful, a fairy’s child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild’ (T.N.A.O.E.L. p.816)
Strong attention is pointed in the appearance of that lady. Actually poet describes her mien in interesting
way. She is called a fairly child; it means that lady has an image of natural, simple and even maidenish personality. But again it is only an image. This woman seems to be virgin, chaste maiden, but she has a lot of power. Actually La Belle Dame is very simple from the first look, but she has something wonderful inside herself. That wonder is a possibility to enslave men’s heart. The lady does it, she enfetters all men and they become kind of slaves.
‘And there she lulled me asleep,
And there I dream’d-Ah! Woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream’d
On the cold hill’s side.’ (T.AN.A.O.E.L. p.816)
This stanza shows the power of the beautiful lady. So it goes without saying that per beauty is kind of her danger. Maiden evocates miraculously weird of the femme fatale which exalts to the highest imaginative plane the fatal thralldom.
To sum up authors used powerful, pretty and miraculous images to describe a woman. But in all writings woman was not a simple person, she always had mystical cunnings, always was described from the bad side: was alluring, immortal, had a lot of power.