The Lady of Shallot Creativity is recognized as the central component in the work of artists and innovators; often distinguished as the ability to breathe life into new and imaginative ideas. Early civilization was established through creativity, through the development of shelters against harsh climates or the assembly of weapons against dangerous predators. Although humans possess the instinctive desire to express creativity, societal expectations tend to revoke visionary outlets and oppression has become alarmingly standard. During the Victorian era, women were offered limited opportunities to express their creativity and were expected to perform uninspired tasks, such as tapestry weaving, in a sequestered environment. The yearning for an artistic outlet, responsibility as an artist, and the mortal consequences a defiant woman would face is illustrated throughout Tennyson’s The Lady of Shallot. The formal elements found in The Lady of Shallot provide the reader with a deeper understanding behind the story’s meaning, since a literal interpretation would quickly leave the reader puzzled. Formally, the poem is written in a narrative ballad and encompasses a refrain (ancient British form used to describe when a verse/phrase experiences repetition). The refrain can be identified in every stanza’s final line, “The Lady of Shallot”, which continues its repetition throughout the poem. The poem’s sound exhibits a strong rhyme scheme: “lie, rye, sky, by”, which is arguably arranged to exhibit a sort of ‘verbal music’ form. The syntax is noted to be line-bound, as each line is almost equal in length. Formally, poets tend to use literary allusions to briefly describe the work of other artists from the past and relate their ideas; however, the primary allusion noted in The Lady of Shallot is actually rooted in the story’s setting, Camelot. The speaker in the poem isn’t made clear but implies familiarity with the Lady’s tragedy (perhaps the speaker was one of the people from Camelot who found the Lady’s body at the end of the river stream). The ironic components presented in the poem are displayed through the Lady’s tapestry and her affection towards Lancelot. Tapestry weaving, in contemporary society, is arguably considered to be a form of art and creativity but in the Victorian era, weaving was a dull task that women were often encouraged to do. Lancelot, who was described as a glamorous character, serves as the object of the Lady’s affection. The Lady desires a true knight of nobility like Lancelot but is unaware of his love affair with King Arthur’s wife, Queen Guinevere! Unbeknownst to the Lady, her desires for true romance are ironic since Lancelot is neither loyal nor true in nature. The tone of the poem shifts from dark themes such as sulking, hope, and concludes in tragedy (although one could argue the ending tone is actually positive, interpreting the Lady’s acceptance of her death as the awakening of her independence). The Lady is also suffering from a deadly curse that prevents her from gazing out directly towards the real world and uses a mirror’s reflection to safely view outside her confinement. The symbolism behind the curse can be interpreted in numerous ways, such as a manifestation of the notion artists cannot socialize with common folk or the Victorian belief that artists must tend to their responsibility as moral-shaping creators. Nearby, two lovers wed and the Lady uses the mirror to announce a significant metaphor, “I am half-sick of looking at shadows”, referring to “shadows” as the real world reflected upon the mirror. During Lancelot’s travel, the Lady fails to use the mirror and directly faces the knight and the world. The mirror cracks and the mysterious curse is triggered, as the Lady proceeds to accept her doom. The allegory presented in this scene arguably describes the human experience of ‘art vs. life’, as the artist (the Lady) dies when neglecting tapestry weaving (art) and facing the real
the sun and the beautiful outdoors they also create an image of this in “the lady of shallot”. In both of the poems the subjects of the poems are trapped, in the lady of shallot she is trapped by the spell she could leave but if she did she would die, in I know why the caged bird sings the bird is trapped with its wings clipped and could not escape if he wanted to because he was in a cage. I think that in the lady of shallot she is trapped more by fear of dying because she could leave at any time she…
The inevitable desire for control and power throughout society stems from an individuals longing to decide their own fate. This yearning for control is explored both in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s ‘The Lady of Shallot’, ‘Tears, Idle Tears’ , ‘In Memoriam - Cantos XVI, XVII, XVIII,XIX’ and Jessica Anderson’s prose fiction text ‘Tirra Lirra by the River’. These texts look at women and artists inability to gain power, the loss of control of emotions and the absence of control in the world. After close analysis…
The Representative Poem
ENG/ 306 Poetry and Society
February 4, 2013
The Representative Poem
The nineteenth century is known as the Victorian Era and it is famous for its improvement of information, growth of an empire and enlargement of the economy. The era had a vibrant spirit of events. During this era Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote the well-known poem “Ulyssses” and it represented how he felt at the time. This poem reveals the determined spirit…
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…
apart turning them into ribbons. Putting them back into the same container they came out of.
Returning the Brussels sprouts to the cooler, and exchanging those for ingredients for my part of the entrée, I noticed a lady standing just outside of our station watching us. She was supposed to…
25 March 2012
In Memoriam…of a Legend
“Tis’ better to have loved and lost/Than to have never loved at all.” The saying created by a widely known and famous poet has permeated generations. Alfred Tennyson has been acknowledged as one with poetic talent at a young age and later would become renowned for his work that ambiguously pushed the questions on faith, the inner workings of nature and mankind, and also the trials of humans throughout the globe…