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How do Christina Rosseti and Alfred Lord Tennyson explore the themes of love and death in the poems "Goblin Market" and "The Lady of Shallot".

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Introduction

How do Christina Rosseti and Alfred Lord Tennyson explore the themes of love and death in the poems "Goblin Market" and "The Lady of Shallot" (NIMA SAGHARCHI) Christina Rosseti and Alfred Lord Tennyson, both notorious poets of the Victorian era (1830-1901) were heir to the poets Romantic era, which employed an interest in personal experience, everyday things, ordinary language, the Gothic, and the medieval as a basis for their poetry. The Victorian era carried from the Romantics distrust of religion, scepticism and an interest in the occult, and in some ways, Victorian poetry is known for its great sensibility. However the works of Tennyson and Roseti seem to employ a more religious Pre-Raphalite style of writing. Both "Goblin Market" and "The Lady of Shalott' explore love, death, temptation, Christianity, and suffering. Each taking an individual standpoint on the subjects. Let us first examine the themes of Love in the poem Goblin market. Although the main theme of the poem is temptation, the symbolism in the poem evokes images of sin, sexuality, corruption, and affection for loved ones. The main theme of love is the strong affection between Lizzie and Laura, their sisterly love helps them survive, this sisterly love is known as Agape (Dictionary Definition: "Love as revealed in Jesus, seen as spiritual and selfless and a model for humanity. ...read more.

Middle

From that moment on, the poem is a race against Death, which is personified , it is "knocking" on Laura's door, and when it does "Lizzie weighed no more, Kissed Laura, crossed the heath with clumps of furze". When Death was inching towards Laura, as a punishment for her temptation, the cure to death was Lizzie's love , which brought her rejuvenation. "Is this death or is this life?...Life out of death", out of the Death of her addicted self, a new emancipated life has risen. The pathetic fallacy in the poem relates to the awakening of Laura, in the poem it is springtime, this is the time when all the plants and nature rejuvenates from the death of Autumn and Winter. And , as can be seen in the following passage, the two are strung together to depict a symbolic rebirth of Laura: "And new buds with new day Opened of cup-like lilies on the stream, Laura awoke as from a dream, Laughed in the innocent old way, Hugged Lizzie but not twice or thrice; Her gleaming locks showed not one thread of grey, Her breath was sweet as May, And light danced in her eyes" The images here are clear and depictive of a reanimation, just as plants and flowers are reanimated with colour when they were once "grey". ...read more.

Conclusion

They both decide to take a leap into the unknown, and unfortunately, only one of them can live. The Lady of Shallots curiosity leads to her falling into her curse, going to Camelot meant death for her. But also death in this poem is a release, a release from her entrapment and encasement. "a gleaming shape she floated by, dead pale". Her dead body, some say, depicts the death of beautiful and wonderful classical art and classical architecture into the deeply dismal and boring angular industrialised style. When once she was beautiful, she then died and her face was pale and robbed of its previous glamour. A truly tragic and symbolic end to a compellingly gripping tale of love and the release from a life of shadows. Both the poems have tragedy, love, passion, hate, aggression. Both poems are intense in their vivid imageries and explore deep and delightful boundaries. In Goblin Market the girls are isolated from the harsh realties of the Goblin Men, but when they face them, they are united and they conquer the outside evils which have infiltrated them, and with love they reign supreme. However, the real world kills the Lady Of Shallot, for her love is unrequited, and in the search for love and passion she seals her own fate, and is bound to death, alone and without emancipation. ...read more.

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