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AS and A Level: Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Common errors when writing about Tennyson's poems

  1. 1 Failing to distinguish between titles and characters – It can lead to confusion if you do not distinguish between ‘Mariana’ or ‘Ulysses’ (the poems) and Mariana or Ulysses (the characters). Quotation marks or italics are essential to indicate titles of poems.
  2. 2 Failure to make proper use of quotations – Quotations from the poems should always be followed by an analysis of their language and effects. It is not enough just to quote and pass on.
  3. 3 Sweeping generalisations about the Victorian era – Avoid statements like ‘the Victorians believed that…’ It is most unlikely that they all did.
  4. 4 The poet’s name – The poet should be referred to as Tennyson, not Lord Tennyson. He did not become a baronet until very late in life.
  5. 5 Poor spelling – Tennyson’s poems contain characters with unfamiliar names, such as Ulysses and Tithonis. Make sure you spell them correctly.

Tennyson is noted for the variety of his verse forms. Check the definitions of each of the following, and make sure you always try to link form with meaning in a poem.

  1. 1 Blank verse.
  2. 2 Dramatic monologue.
  3. 3 Elegy.
  4. 4 Lyric.
  5. 5 Quatrains.

Poetry essay success

  1. 1 Try to refer to the wording of the essay title two or three times during the course of your essay. This should ensure that you are answering the question effectively.
  2. 2 If asked to compare or contrast two poems, make sure you give equal weight to both of them.
  3. 3 Discuss poetic technique as well as narrative content, and consider how these two things relate to each other.
  4. 4 Introduce your quotations so they are fluently integrated into the flow of your sentences. Then analyse their effect. Don’t just expect them to speak for themselves.
  5. 5 Use adverbs or phrases such as ‘moreover’, nevertheless’, ‘in addition’ and ‘however’. These indicate whether you intend to develop a previous point or change tack, and help the reader follow your argument.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 6
  • Peer Reviewed essays 3
  1. Analysis of 'Break, Break, Break' by Tennyson

    Furthermore, Tennyson introduces the extended metaphor central to the poem in this first stanza: 'On thy cold gray stones, O Sea! / And I would that my tongue could utter / The thoughts that arise in me.' In this example, the poetic voice directly addresses the sea, as if he is searching for a form of understanding from the greater power of nature in order to alleviate his angst. It is within this mode of personification that the poet achieves a sense of poignancy in his presentation of the melancholy of the speaker and in turn, emphasises his sense of

    • Word count: 978
  2. 'The Lotus Eaters' by Tennyson

    Metaphorically though, this last line of the poem represents an end to exploration. This line is saying the growth of England is stunted and will not move forward. However, it could be conceived as forward looking but in a negative light because it could be seen as a prediction of the fall of the British Empire. The whole poem is a metaphor for the British Empire. Throughout there are tired words and phrases such as "languid," "weary dream" and "slumberous." These slow words demonstrate a state of paralysis, being stuck and not moving anywhere.

    • Word count: 922
  3. alfred tennyson- the lady shalott

    The poem thus captures the conflict between an artist's desire for social involvement and his/her doubts about whether such a commitment is viable for someone dedicated to art. The poem may also express a more personal dilemma for Tennyson as a specific artist: while he felt an obligation to seek subject matter outside the world of his own mind and his own immediate experiences--to comment on politics, history, or a more general humanity--he also feared that this expansion into broader territories might destroy his poetry's magic.

    • Word count: 200
  4. "Ulysses" by Lord Alfred Tennyson

    The given poem and the ten lines presented above are a good example of how form and certain concepts the author uses help him to reflect the meaning of the work and make it clear and easy-understandable. These ten lines speak about living life as fully as possibly and point out the connection of a man with everything and everyone he has ever seen or met. Experience gained during the long life is compared to an arch through which one sees a lot of places unseen and undiscovered yet - the more one sees and experiences, the sharper he understands that there is still much more to see and live through.

    • Word count: 639
  5. Compare and Contrast Ulysses and Tithonus Josh Benson LSM ww Ulysses and Tithonus are narrated by two men, who are both very much unhappy. They both want different

    He questions 'why should a man desire in any way to vary from the kindly race of men'. Ulysses however does want to be different and has no thoughts of anything different. He wants to be famous and talks about himself as being full of energy and something of a hero. He claims to be and 'idle king' and singles himself out from others. He believes the people 'that hoard, and sleep, and feed and know not me' are so different from himself. Being ruler of Ithaca - something most power hungry people would be satisfied - with its 'common duties', is not enough for Ulysses.

    • Word count: 978
  6. In Tennyson's poem 'The Lady of Shalott', I feel that he has successfull

    This picture successfully conveys the female characters emotion of being abandoned and forgotten, her feelings in this poem are put mostly across through her hopeless surroundings. In the poem 'Mariana' (6th stanza) Tennyson takes us inside the house but the feeling of decay and despair is the same inside. The house is equally isolated and dead inside '...the doors upon their hinges creak'd; the blue fly sung in the pane; the mouse behind the mouldering winsot shriek'd...' This is a clear example of how Tennyson uses the description of the natural world to describe how the female character is feeling.

    • Word count: 789
  7. "The Lady of Shalott" - review

    used very much and it has an effect on the mood and the atmosphere created, "Hung in the golden galaxy, the bride bells rang merrily" The gold colour makes you feel happy and cheerful contrary to the pale yellow in the following quote which makes it all dark and gloomy by using words such as "complaining". "The pale yellow woods were waning, the broad stream in his banks complaining." The atmosphere in each section differs and is sometimes affected by the weather, in section 1 it is mysterious and suspicious as you do not know who she is or where she came from.

    • Word count: 904
  8. The Lady of Shallot - Our task was to choose a poem from an anthology we were given and to perform it in groups. We could use drama or music to go with it, or we could use both, we could also use props if we thought it would suit it.

    She lies down in it and floats down to Camelot where the people there hear her sing her last mournful song and then she dies. It was a sad poem so we choose to wear dark colours, one of the members of our group dressed up as the Lady of Shallot, she wore a black dress and black hat. We chose some music that sounded like a river flowing along to play in the background. I liked the poem we chose to do and I thought we performed it quite well.

    • Word count: 970
  9. Ulysses by Tennyson.

    At home Ulysses is unable to adjust to old age. Regardless of his physical body he feels his spirit is still longing for travel. He feels as though his wife is too old, and he governs the people with no respect, "Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole / Unequal laws unto a savage race, / That hord, and sleep, and feed, and know not of me"(Lines 3-5). Ulysses condescends his own son by describing his timidness to rule the people and how his son is more capable of the common duties.

    • Word count: 720
  10. Alfred Lord Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott and Mariana.

    In Mariana the setting is completely different and you get the impression of a ramshackle old house that has gone to ruins because no one has taken care of it. 'The rusted nails fell from the knots That held the pear to the garden-wall. The broken sheds look'd sad and strange: Unlifted was the clinking latch' Again using empathy, if I were the lady inside the house I would feel alone and the fact that the house is in ruins would just make me more depressed.

    • Word count: 927
  11. A critical appreciation of 'Ulysses' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

    The mete and dole' are beneath him and he wants more king like duties. This 'savage race', 'hoard, and sleep, and feed'. Ulysses is comparing them to animals in this emphatic iambic line. The caesura in 'I cannot rest from travel: I will drink life to the lees' shows how restless he is. The run on line with the alliterative 'l' shows how he wants to live life to the fullest. Ulysses has 'become a name', but he is unhappy as although he has gained status, it cannot do anything for him. The alliteration in 'Hungry heart', conveys his desperation for adventure.

    • Word count: 961
  12. Imagine you are one of the mariners sailing with Ulysses. Describe Ulysses.

    Just like the battle of Troy, and many others. Deep down in my heart I knew that there would be a day when he would leave his family and come to us, as I have spent too many suns with Ulysses, to not know what he is like. His constant crave for adventure, and not having the capability to stay in one place for long. However, knowing and preparing myself to refuse his tempting offer, did not help. Now here I am, on the same boat that we used to fight the sea king, Poseidon, sailing away from home again, with Ulysses as our leader.

    • Word count: 649
  13. Tennyson's The Lady Of Shalott

    This choice brings the poem to life and sets the scene brilliantly. Tennyson, although The Lady of Shalott is a fantastic poem, must have encountered many difficulties in writing his poem according to his strict rhyming and syllable pattern. There are a few hiccups in the poem where this is noticeable e.g.; part 1 By the margin, willow-veil'd Slide the heavy barges trail'd By slow horses; and unhail'd ------------This only has seven syllables instead of eight The Shallop flitteth silken-sail'd This is a good example of how Tennyson tries to cover up his mistakes.

    • Word count: 614
  14. The poems you have studied focus on the issue of age. Discuss the various attitudes presented in “Tithonus” and two of the modern poems and compare how the poets present their views. With which views do you most sympathise?

    Plus "Geriatric Ward" a depressing poem written by Phoebe Hesketh, based on the less bags which are the elderly, left to waste away in a hospital. Firstly I would like to deal with "Tithonus" this pre 20th Century poem is largely based around the emphasis "Be careful what you wish for". Tithonus was ordinary man with extraordinary looks. He was a mortal who had fallen in love with Aurora the goddess of the dawn. Aurora is immortal and born again fresh and beautiful each dawn.

    • Word count: 618
  15. Tennysons women are more engaging then his men. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

    ??Weeded and worn the ancient thatch upon the lonely moated grange.? This makes the reader feel inquisitive about Marianna and her dreaminess state. The use of imagery heightens the effect of the language and enthralls the reader to such an extent that they must continue reading the poem. In comparison to Sir Lancelot in the Lady of Shalott, his brief interlude in the poem to remark on the Lady of Shalott?s appearance makes him appear callous and egotistic. In contrast Marianna appears more engaging then Sir Lancelot because she represented as mysterious and enigmatic character, while Sir Lancelot lacks personality and individuality.

    • Word count: 729

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?

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