Lord Alfred Tennyson was a Victorian poet born on August, sixth, 1809, in Somersby, Lincolnshire. Tennyson was an active poet from around the times of 1827, where we saw his first publication entitled ‘Poems by Two Brothers’. Tennyson did write poetry long before school, as an act to take his mind off troubles. One of the most important factors upon the success of Tennyson’s poetry, and to have a firm understanding of the themes that his poetry portray; is to have an understanding of Tennyson’s family history. Tennyson’s father suffered frequent mental breakdowns, which was worsened by alcoholism, his brother also suffered from a mental condition and was admitted into a mental asylum, and finally another one of his brothers became addicted to Opium. Tennyson’s poetry is a reflection of his thoughts and feelings accumulated from the death of his good friend Hallam, his family’s poverty after his father’s death, and the feelings of isolation, he felt that his art of poetry estranged him from his contemporaries.
Death and the feeling of isolation that you feel afterwards is one of the most repeated themes within Tennyson’s poetry. Some of Tennyson’s greatest poems have come after the death of his beloved friend Arthur Hallam. Hallam was a great loss to Tennyson and this encouraged Tennyson to write about how he felt, one of his most famous poems ‘In Memoriam’ was written in the memory of Hallam and became one of his most literary greatest pieces of work. We also see the theme of death in the poems ‘Break, Break, Break’ and ‘The Lady of Shallot’.
Another theme that is portrayed in Tennyson’s poetry is his temptation to fall prey to pessimism and the feelings of wanting to ‘give up’. Again this spurred on after the death of Hallam. Controversial to this his poetry also deals with the importance of optimism and the need to struggle on with life, whatever it throws at you. His poem ‘In Memoriam’ is again another example where this theme of ‘struggling on’ is shown, and again in the poem ‘Ulysses’, both was written after Hallam’s death.
Tennyson’s love for England is also reflected in some of Tennyson’s work. He wrote many poems glorifying nineteenth century England ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ being one of them, where we see how Tennyson praises the courage of the…