Stanza Structure in When I Have Fears

When I Have Fears” by the English Romantic poet John Keats is a sonnet that centers on the theme of fear: fear of his own mortality and the brevity of life, and the effects it has on his poetry and love. Keats’ use of the formal aspects of poetry to convey his ideas is particularly interesting, especially when complimented by other literary techniques. In particular, the stanza structure of “When I Have Fears” contributes greatly to the poem’s content.  The stanza structure serves the primary purpose of organizing the poem, so that individual themes are more pronounced, hence the poem holistically has greater meaning. The stanza structure is also notable for mirroring Keats’ ideas. The stanza structure ultimately makes Keats’ thoughts clearer and stronger.