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Through the three texts La Belle Dame sans Merci, Lamia and The lady of Shalott by John Keats and Alfred Tennyson respectively, we see the different representations of women

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Introduction

Winfred Freeman 07/11/12 Representation of Women Write about some of the ways characters are created in the three texts you have studied. (42 marks) Through the three texts ?La Belle Dame sans Merci?, ?Lamia? and ?The lady of Shalott? by John Keats and Alfred Tennyson respectively, we see the different representations of women; ranging from Keats? hostile and misogynistic representation of women to Tennyson?s sympathetic yet somewhat limited representation of women. In ?La Belle Dame sans Merci?, as indicated by the title, Keats instantly casts women as unremorseful and without compassion. As soon as the first three lines, we can quickly ascertain that something is askew; a knight ? symbolic of power, valour and gallantry ? is ?palely loitering? where ?...no birds sing?. ...read more.

Middle

details the enthralling and devastating power of women as ?kings and princes too? ? men of power - have been ruined by ?La Belle Dame? and left forlorn with starv?d lips which crave her love much like the knight himself. ?Lamia? does nothing to dispel the negative representations of women, as with ?La Belle Dame sans Merci?; Keats? also makes use of femme fatal in ?Lamia?. In the poem, women are portrayed as the serpent ?Lamia? - symbolically representing evil, temptation and deceit. Lamia hates her grotesque form and longs to be free from it however lacks the power to change it and therefore enlists Hermes? help; this is significant as it highlights women?s reliance on men just as Lamia relies on Hermes to return her to her human form. ...read more.

Conclusion

be resisted, he shows this by harshly punishing the male characters as seen with Lycius? death and the forlorn knight in ?La Belle Dame sans Merci?. Tennyson breaks away from the archetypical portrayal of women as temptresses and perpetrators of melancholy and represents them as victims trapped in a situation and distanced from the world of action as seen in ?The Lady of Shalott?. The Lady of Shalott is ?embowered? in a castle and forced to view the world from a magic mirror due to a curse placed on her, thus she gazes at the reflection as if it were reality. The Lady of Shalott is not given a name but is instead defined by the absence of man ?she hath no loyal knight and true? ...read more.

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