Thursday, 21 April 2011


Right, Apollonius. What do you think? 


  1. Hi Ms Caldwell,
    I think it depends on how you see Lamia - if you like her, then you don't like Apollonius as he ruins her wedding day by killing her (although perhaps, in the process, rescues her from an unhappy marriage?). However, if you feel Lamia is an evil snake, then you want Apollonius to kill her and save Lycius from being married to her, even though he then dies as well...
    See you on Wednesday!
    Eleanor :)

  2. Excellent! Yes, out perception of Apollonius does depend on how we understand Lamia.
    In Burton's version (where Keats got the inspiration for Lamia, Apollonius was a wise sage who saves Lycius from the raptures of Lamia. However, Keats says his 'Do not all charms fly at the mere touch of cold philosophy?' This question makes the reader question Apollonius' intentions and philosophy. This could be linked to Keats' accusation that Newton had 'unweav[ed] the rainbow by reducing it to a prism'. This has added resonance when we consider the Romantic movement as a reaction to The Age of Reason. For an excellent article on this, look at this site:
    If we discount the initial presentation of Lamia then Apollonius would appear to crush the mythical, poetic world of Lamia. Keats doesn't seem to condemn fully the 'cold' reality that Apollonius brings.
    There is clear bias against Apollonius though. Look at the Keats' choice of descriptive language for his eyes. What do you notice?

  3. Do you mean the quote 'Had fix'd his eye, without a twinkle or stir'? Could this be ironic as having 'fix'd' and unmoving eyes is reminiscent of a snake, and that is precisely what he reveals Lamia to be... This desciption could make us feel negatively towards Apollonius, although we know Lamia should be revealed for who she is to the man she is going to marry.

    Anisha :)

  4. Awesome! We should feel that Lamia needs to be exposed as a snake, or certainly not a mortal, but Keats' language makes the reader find Apollonius hard and 'cold'. Reality and reason in opposition...
    What do others think?
    Ms :)

  5. If eyes are windows to the soul, then maybe Keats is trying to tell us that, although Lamia was physically a snake, Apollonius is mentally more snakelike. Perhaps his exposure of Lamia as a snake, and the resulting death of Lycius, is a sign of his cruel nature, hidden behind an air of wiseness, just as Lamia's terrible snake form was hidden behind the bright colours of her surface deep beauty, but at the same time was covering her human personality (which is what really matters), shown by her voice and eyes?
    Also, it is strange that none of the pasts of the characters are explored (except for Lycius a bit). To be in snake form, surely Lamia must have done something wrong (insulted vain goddess etc) in keeping with all the other beautiful girls enduring eternal punishments in greek myths! Any idea what it was? She says her parents are dead, but she's lied so much to Lycius that can we really trust her?
    If it was a punishment, then maybe we should feel that she deserves a chance at a normal human life - she made a mistake but she's paid the price, so is it unfair of Apollonius to drag up her snake past?
    Eleanor :)

  6. Fantastic interpretation. Who will answer Eleanor's questions and add their own interpretation?