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

Write a Critical Commentary of both La Belle Dame Sans Merci, and The Lady of Shalott. Which poem do you prefer and why?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Write a Critical Commentary of both La Belle Dame Sans Merci, and The Lady of Shalott. Which poem do you prefer and why? In the nineteenth century, pomes such as 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci, written by Keats, and 'The Lady of Shalott' written by Lord Tennyson, were created in a golden age of manners and formality. Camelot attracted many authors, poets, and painters to a place of great romance and mystique. The theme of Camelot was to show women as either a seductress, or a wronged maiden, waiting for their lovers evermore. Both poems, which I am to compare and discuss, respond to this popular theme In Camelot, and it therefore also became popular amongst artists. The Lady of Shalott, written by Lord Tennyson of that time, is a narrative poem, which tells a story of a woman (the lady of Shalott) who a spell was cast upon. Now, in the poem, because of this 'curse' the lady cannot look at Camelot, but only through a mirror. If she breaks this rule, she will die. The poem begins in the first stanza, describing Camelot as a perfect place. The imagery, which Lord Tennyson creates in order to give a good sense of visual detail in this stanza, is amazing. 'That clothe the wold and meet the sky'. You can really tell that the 'fields of barley and rye' really are 'long', through this description. ...read more.

Middle

The part of the poem demonstrates how The Lady of Shalott is completely transfixed on the knight as he rides on his 'war horse' down the road to Camelot. The lady becomes so transfixed, that she is bewitched by him, and she 'look'd down to Camelot'. 'The mirror cracked from side to side', and The Lady of Shalott realized what she had done, and shouted 'The curse is come upon me'. The last part paints a picture of a desperate woman attempting to be discovered before death comes upon her. So, she left the mirror, and 'down she came and found a boat'. She then floated down to Camelot in the boat, singing her 'last song', 'mournful, and holy'. The lady floats ashore, with her name scratched on the outside of the boat, and is found by her bewitchment, dead. Although the poem is in itself sad, the fact that her bewitcher, the knight who caused her to die, never discovers this in the poem, and so she dies for no purpose, except that she finally saw the man of her dreams and Camelot, the land of romance, except in this case becomes ironic, as she finds her love, but dies because she looked at 'the land of romance'. La belle dame sans merci by Keats is quite different. The Lady of Shalott, is more like a story rather than a fully descriptive poem, where as this is much more dramatic. ...read more.

Conclusion

These two poems although the same, because they are written at the same point in time, and have similar 'fairy tale ideas', they are quite different. The narrator, in the third person, tells the Lady of Shallott where as in La belle dame sans merci, the knight is telling of his own death (because he is not yet dead and wants to warn others), therefore the story is being told in the first person. This puts a completely different perspective on the stories, because I found that after reading both of the poems, that I felt more sorry for the knight from La belle dame sans merci, rather than The Lady of Shalott. This is because 'the merciless woman' intentionally lured the death of the knight in La belle dame sans merci, where as in The Lady of Shalott, the knight unintentionally killed the lady. Also, I felt that because the story was told by the knight, that I 'knew' him more personally. My personal favorite was La belle dame sans merci. This is because like I described in my comparison, I felt that the poem was more dramatic, and more meaningful than The Lady of Shalott. I felt that Keats was more able to describe the feelings of the knight, and his betrayal in twelve stanzas, than Lord Tennyson was able to in two pages. Also, I like the fact that instead of the male luring the female to doom, and woman (especially in that time) is leading the male to his death instead. ...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

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    Kip's experiences in India with his brother-who harbors deep resentment toward the West-and with fellow soldiers in England who react with reserve to his brown skin highlight the strained and skeptical relations between two parts of one large Empire. As an Indian man serving in the British army, Kip straddles

  2. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost and If Sleep and ...

    The poem was a great favourite of Queen Victoria, who found it a source of solace after the death of Prince Albert in 1861: "Next to the Bible, In Memoriam is my comfort." - she used to say. In 1862, Victoria requested a meeting with Tennyson because she was so impressed by the poem.

  1. EXPLORE THE VIEW THAT MALES VALUE WOMEN PREDOMINANTLY FOR THEIR CHILDBEARING ABILITIES, BUT THAT ...

    crueel houndes, or som foul vermyne Hadde eten yow; but God of his mercy And youre benyngne fader tendrely Hath doon yow kept [...]" upon the return of her children. Both women did not cease to worry about their child's safety after their removal, showing that the role of mother is far more over reaching than simply giving birth.

  2. Discuss this interpretation of Iagos role in the light of the critical views you ...

    In Act two scenes one, the audience feels relax throughout the scene, but it is impossible because of Iago's asides, "But I'll set down the pegs that make this music, as honest as I am". His soliloquy seem very powerful, when he is most 'honest', we lead to know that he is disbelieved and to be entertaining to us.

  1. Compare the ways in which Plath and Hughes write about relationships. You must include ...

    In the following stanza Plath carefully uses very soft-sounding and delicate wording such as, ?moth-breath? suggesting you can?t hear the baby breathing, and so creates a very tranquil image as the baby?s breathing sounds almost like the tiny fluttering of wings.

  2. Why "The Catcher In The Rye" Was Controversial

    One school board in New Jersey was contemplating whether to ban it or keep the book, and a factor if it should stay or go was the language, and a student went to the meeting and begged for the board to ?over look the words?.

  1. Compare the ways in which Duffy and Heaney write about unhappiness and suffering. In ...

    In Shooting Stars, Duffy keeps the four line stanzas to create a similar notion of repetition of abuse and more likely to emphasize the routine and the standard, desensitised, rhythmic executions carried out by Nazi soldiers. Shooting Stars is written as a first person narrative and similarly to Lizzie?s abuser, her character is unidentified.

  2. Analysis of Peter Pan and The Wonderful Wizard of OZ

    In 1896, his agent, Addison Bright persuaded him to meet with Broadway producer Charles Frohman. Frohman would become not only his financial backer, but a close friend as well. Frohman, who was responsible for producing the debut of Peter Pan in both England and the U.S., as well as other

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