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Light vs. Dark in the Lady of Shalott.

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Introduction

Light vs. Dark in the Lady of Shalott Descriptions of the Lady and Lancelot within the text differ significantly. Her world is a land of shadows: dim, dismal, silent and gray. All colors that appear in her world are rare and only basic primary hues -- i.e. the "red cloaks of the market girls," the "blue" mirror, or the "yellow" woods. Later, in the revised edition of the poem, the Lady is never described directly. ...read more.

Middle

He is compared to a meteor surrounded by "starry clusters bright" that is "trailing light" and blazing through the dark "purple night." It is this sharp contrast between the two that so strongly attracts the Lady as an escape from her world of shadows. The Lady of Shalott is a 180 line narrative poem divided into four sections of nine-line stanzas. It is almost entirely composed in iambic tetrameter, except the last line of each stanza which is written in iambic trimeter. ...read more.

Conclusion

This repetition is only interrupted by the word "Lancelot" (twice; in the fifth line of the ninth stanza and in the ninth line of the twelfth stanza). It is symbolic of how the Lady's newborn love for Lancelot brings an end to her servitude and allows her to escape from her tower of shadows. Lancelot's refrain "tirra lirra" is a direct allusion to Autolycus' song in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale in which he refers to "tumbling in the hay" with his "aunts" (prostitutes). It serves to highlight the Lady's repressed emotions and sexual tensions. ...read more.

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