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

Discuss Tennyson's presentation of the Lady of Shallot.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss Tennyson's presentation of the Lady of Shallot With The Lady of Shallot, Tennyson explores various themes within the structure of a conventional Romantic poem; the poem may be interpreted as a story representing the plight of the artist, or even as a comment on the female roles in Victorian society, but the imagery and language remain flowing and powerful either way. The social context is, of course, significant; Tennyson wrote the poem during a period of social and intellectual change, where people began to question accepted wisdom, and pursue their own line of questioning. Thus the poem may represent Tennyson's desire as an artist to shatter the barrier that held him back from reality, but it is also a comment on the very nature of the artist, who strives to perfect his art and may only achieve perfection in death. Tennyson, from the first stanza, presents us with two distinct and separated areas: nature, and the Lady's walled tower. ...read more.


The "curse" is the conceit of the poem, and once again, could firstly suggest the misogyny inherent in Victorian society: by labelling it a curse, Tennyson satirises his contemporaries' refusal to believe that change was necessary and even possible. Recognising female repression as outdated and redundant, the irony is clear when he calls it preordained. However, a more interesting understanding of the curse would seem to involve a reference to Aristotle's Allegory of the Cave. Aristotle's dialogue described a society that lived in a cave, facing inwards and trapped by chains. They see on the wall in front of them shadows that they perceive to be reality, but of course reality is an altogether different proposition, and the people cannot understand its true nature nor grasp it. In the same way, the Lady, as an artist would, draws her perception of nature which she must view through a mirror. The mirror, however, in Renaissance times and later, was symbolic of self-delusion and vanity thus suggesting that any perception the Lady makes, and any art she creates is tainted by hr own prejudices and beliefs. ...read more.


helmet-feather/ Burn'd like one burning flame together." The images are dazzling yet harmful, and the passion the Lady feels for Lancelot is all -consuming. So, Tennyson's quest slowly eats away at him, and his frustration at being unable to clearly depict the reality he has seen (through his art) leaves him in mental conflict. The mere "tapestry" is unable to capture the infinite, brilliant aspects of nature like "the sun" that came "dazzling thro' the leaves," the "starry clusters" or "the blue unclouded weather." Consumed by her desire for art, the Lady ignores prophesies of her death like the "funeral with plumes and lights" and the "bearded meteor." In fact, the latter image shows the manner in which Tennyson ironically illustrates this separation of reality and perception: The beard on the meteor is in fact its trail, yet the image conceals the true nature of the world that the Lady sees. I believe that the "broad stream" is another mythological allusion to the River Styx, and in a "trance" that symbolises her detachment from SHASHANK JOSHI ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE War Poetry 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 GCSE War Poetry essays


    See the following biblical texts: "if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he ... would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of

  2. "Poems of Lonely Terror." (W. H. Auden) A Critical Discussion of Arnold's 'Dover Beach', ...

    Although a slow process, throughout the poem, she realises that he will never arrive. This differs with 'Dover Beach', as within that, Arnold describes the world as ignorant to its problems, whereas Mariana is quite aware of them subconsciously at least, even if she refuses to believe them.

  1. The changing tradition of war poetry

    The different kind of language that Sassoon used was a positive language for the mother's feelings and also the negative language for the "brother officer". the language was simple nut hard hitting "at last, he died, blown to small bits" .

  2. Eighteen - creative writitng.

    Now it was time, time to face the facts. He had killed a boy, no one else would under stand why, why he had done it. If he tried to explain it to a policeman he would think him as loony. Michael asked a passer by the directions to the nearest police station.

  1. Compare and contrast The Charge of the Light Brigade by Tennyson with The last ...

    This is shown, as Tennyson does not repeat the line "But not, not the six hundred." This line does suggest the amount of casualties but is only skimmed over. In contrast to this Tennyson uses repetition to reinforce his own message, Tennyson writes "Honour the charge they made, Honour the light brigade."

  2. Human Nature

    Like Celine, the narrator also started writing after the war. Once again quoting from the same book, "The truth is death, I've fought nicely against it as long as I could ... danced with it, festooned it, waltzed it around...

  1. If you were directing 'Educating Rita', how would you seek to achieve the humour ...

    the star that rose at ev'ning bright Toward heav'n's descent had slop'd his westering wheel. 113] next: following morning. sad: serious. 116] In some of the first editions of the poem, the following stanza preceded the epitaph: "There scatter'd oft, the earliest of the year,/By hands unseen are show'rs of

  2. War Poetry Essays - "Out of the Blue", "Poppies" and "Futility".

    Owen is angry at this because so many young men die in battle when they shouldn't have to and they are only remembered by those close to them. Everyone else just sees these soldiers as a number; not for what great men they were and could've been.

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