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I think that in Tennyson's poems, 'The lady of Shalott' and 'Mariana', the central female characters are presented to us in the way that Tennyson views women and their roles in society. There

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Introduction

"Tennyson had great sympathy for women and the ways in which their lives were restricted." Write the ways in which Tennyson presents the lives of women in some poems you have read. I think that in Tennyson's poems, 'The lady of Shalott' and 'Mariana', the central female characters are presented to us in the way that Tennyson views women and their roles in society. There are many similarities and differences in both poems with how the female behave and live. In 'The lady of Shalott' the female lives in a tower, trapped and cursed, until she hears Lancelot coming. The lady is spinning tapestry and not looking out of the window at the outside world, yet towards the end of the poem she gets distracted and wants to see Lancelot for herself. The tapestry is an important symbol in the poem; it's the only world that the lady lives in and this is still just other people's lives that she sees through the mirror. This poem reflects the political turmoil that women faced in the year in which it was written. The lady is presented to us as being trapped and helpless. She has been introduced to us sat in this tower and her life seems desperate and lonely she's waiting for a knight to save her whilst she is trapped away from the world. ...read more.

Middle

"I am half sick of shadows," said the lady of Shalott'. The opening of the poem establishes a contrast, giving the picture of a world which is alive; this is true for her outside surroundings but not for the lady's life. The world being so alive is taunting and in the end has misleading implications on the woman. For the lady, Lancelot is a symbol of fulfilment in the world. She thinks that Lancelot is able to provide a promise and everything that she is missing out on. Lancelot is the first person to be named in the poem, and he gives validity to names and meaning to the self. Reality becomes realised for the lady when she invokes the curse and dies in a hopeless situation without the opportunity to meet her knight in shining armour. The poem is written in a repeated rhyming form in verses between the words 'Camelot' and 'Shallot'. The words used in each verse helps to create images of the world she lives in. The poem is divided into four numbered sections. In the last stanza Tennyson uses emotive language to describe what the lady is feeling 'But in her web the lady delights, to weave the mirrors magic sights'. Here Tennyson is trying to bring the lady in the poem to life by using emotion. ...read more.

Conclusion

This changes now when she seems to realise '...He will not come,' she said' Symbolism is an important aspect of the Lady of Shalott. The mirror is her reality; she looks through the mirrors and weaves what she sees. It is her only experience of the outside world and even this is distorted. The mirror represents the lady of Shallot's naivet� and innocence. All this changes though when she runs to the window to look at Lancelot; she looses her innocence by falling in love. The tapestry flies out of the window (How she saw the world before) and the mirror cracks (Her previous na�ve perspective that she had of the world). The lady of Shalott cannot handle unrequited love and the reality of a harsh world so she kills herself. In the poem there is magical symbolism, this has human significance; 'or when the Moon was overhead, Came two young lovers lately wed; "I am half sick of shadows," said the lady of Shalott.' Tennyson writes about females lost in half-life, which results in people taking decisive, heroic action that leads to their doom. Tennyson brings attention to rhymes by making most of the lines stop, and the flow of words is brought to a halt by punctuation. The strong emphasis on rhymes gives the poem the feeling of an ancient tale, when news was carried from town to town by word of mouth and rhyming aided memorization. ?? ?? ?? ?? Mason Egerton ...read more.

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