• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discussing 'Mariana' and 'The Lady of Shallot' by Alfred lord Tennyson.

Extracts from this document...


'Mariana' and 'The Lady of Shallot' Alfred lord Tennyson's poems, 'Mariana' and 'The lady of Shallot' are based respectively around Shakespeare's play, 'Measure for measure' and Arthurian legend. The poems are both based on two women isolated from the outside world, Mariana is depressed and the lady feels a deep longing. Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) was an extremely talented and successful poet. At the height of his career he became the court's poet laureate. This is just one of his many successes. Despite living a reasonably depressive life such as living through the deaths of a brother, a son as well as two of his friends, one of which was Arthur Hallam whose death greatly influenced his work. He had many successful poems such as 'Mariana' and 'The Lady of Shallot' both of which are the focus of this essay. 'Mariana' (published 1830) originates from a Shakespearian play called 'measure for measure' it is based on a character in the play called Mariana who is abandoned by her lover, Antonio. The first line of the play is actually a direct quote from the play 'Mariana in the moated grange'. The poem tells of a lonely depressed woman, waiting for her lover to return sitting in solitary in a moated grange. She repeatedly talks of taking her own life but still has hope that her lover could return. Desperation for her lover to return, desire for death and depression due to being abandoned are the key issues that Mariana faces. 'The lady of shallot' (published in 1832) is based on an Arthurian legend where Camelot was the capital of King Arthur's realm. ...read more.


This shows that this is the reason she sacrificed her life, because she believed that her life wasn't worth living with out Lancelot and the grave is more favourable than a life of loneliness. She also wants to be one of the people going in and out of Camelot "I am half sick of shadows" This is also emphasized by the repetition of the word 'Camelot'. She weaves everything that she sees in the mirror, showing that she is obsessed with the outside and wants to be included. Whereas Mariana just wants her lover to return "'My life is dreary He cometh not,'" This repetition shows that she believes her life is dreary with out her lover. They are both the same in some cases, it is just that they are stuck in different situations for example they both have something beautiful to look at, they are just prevented from seeing it. Mariana has the sweet heaven but she cannot see it as she opens the curtains at night "When thickest dark did trance the sky, She drew her casement-curtain by." The lady of Shallot cannot look directly at Camelot which along with Lancelot is her only passion. Tennyson uses repetition to show what each woman are focused on, with Mariana it is every thing she is complaining about and with the lady ,it is Lancelot and Camelot, everything she wishes she could have. Despite Tennyson using contrasting settings for the two poems, they both depress the two women, Mariana feels even worse when she looks outside, she has nothing interesting to look at and even "the day is sad". ...read more.


The reason he has chosen women in such differing situations is to show that it is a problem for women from all walks of life this shows that money doesn't equal happiness. Just as Mariana waits for her lover to return, Victorian housewives hope for their men to return as they come back from dangerous jobs like mining or working in a work house. Mariana still hopes that her lover will return this is shown by her loyalty to him by reciting 'my life is dreary, He cometh not' Not only have I noticed similarities between the tow women but I have noticed a similarity between Tennyson himself and the lady. the two are both artists, Tennyson a poet and the lady,A weaver the lady weaves what she sees in the world ,in the mirror this is reminiscent of the process of poetry, writing about what he sees in the world around him. The weaving is also the way in which women expressed themselves when denied a voice in society. I have noticed the significance of the mirror shattering as well, not only as the lady's cursed implement but it seems to be a symbol of Tennyson life being shattered when his friend, Arthur Hallam died. Just as the lady's life began to fall apart when the mirror broke, so did Tennyson when Hallam died. The mirror gave a backwards image of the outside world meaning that her view of the world is false symbolic of Victorian housewives dreaming that they were in fact away in a fairytale. This is could be a reason why Tennyson chose this setting, as it is such a contrast to Victorian life. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Alfred Lord Tennyson section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Alfred Lord Tennyson essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Critical Commentary - Mariana

    3 star(s)

    This sense of routine is exemplified also through the use of refrain in the last four lines of each poem, which adds to a prosaic and dreary air about the poem. She is so depressed that she 'cannot look on the sweet heaven' in the morning or evening, which perhaps describes her aversion to all things beautiful.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    A later poet said 'Old men ought to be explorers'. What do you think ...

    3 star(s)

    by investigating the possibilities that await, or perhaps that there is even a kind of glory in exploring. Indeed he says later in the poem 'for my purpose holds to...' The poet would approve all of these things that Ulysses says, as they all imply that old men ought to be explorers.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Look again at Ulysses and write about Tennysons narrative techniques

    5 star(s)

    Critics have agreed with this interpretation in the past- McCulloch describing the "masterly, inspirational oratory of the closing lines of this poem with a recognition that what it encourages is reckless and suicidal", and Buckley has the interpretation that Ulysses does not have a complete "will to go forward .

  2. Peer reviewed

    "What are the poetic skills Tennyson uses in his narrative poems?"

    3 star(s)

    Now they come back "back from the mouth of hell" (stanza 5 line 9) but only what is left of the six hundred, "All that was left of them, Left of six hundred." (Stanza 5 line 9-10) Stanza 6 is Tennyson's view of the incident.

  1. I think that in Tennyson's poems, 'The lady of Shalott' and 'Mariana', the central ...

    Her speech here in Tennyson's use of dialogue brings her to life because for the rest of the poem it's mainly narrative. Each of the four stanzas ends with somebody saying something. Otherwise nobody says anything. At the end of each stanza in 'Mariana' it is emphasized again and again just how bored and lonely the female character is.

  2. The Use of the Female Persona in Lady of Shalott and Mariana.

    This was quite natural as the separate space occupied by the artist in society is similar to the private, domestic space in which a woman was enclosed.

  1. A comaprison between mariana and the lady of shallot

    " 'Tirra lira,' by the river sang Sir Lancelot." This shows that Sir Lancelot does not notice the Lady Shalott even though she notices him, which is evidently unrequited love. The fact that the Lady of Shalott is not with Sir Lancelot is made worse by the fact that 2 young lovers wed before she saw Lancelot.

  2. The subject of this poem is drawn from a line in Shakespeare's play Measure ...

    The woman repeats the refrain of the first stanza. When the moon lies low at night, the woman looks to her white window curtain, where she sees the shadow of the poplar swaying in the wind. But when the moon is very low and the winds exceptionally strong, the shadow

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work