- Join over 1.2 million students every month
- Accelerate your learning by 29%
- Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
AS and A Level: Alfred Lord Tennyson
Meet our team of inspirational teachers
Common errors when writing about Tennyson's poems
- 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 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 Sweeping generalisations about the Victorian era – Avoid statements like ‘the Victorians believed that…’ It is most unlikely that they all did.
- 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 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 Blank verse.
- 2 Dramatic monologue.
- 3 Elegy.
- 4 Lyric.
- 5 Quatrains.
Poetry essay success
- 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 If asked to compare or contrast two poems, make sure you give equal weight to both of them.
- 3 Discuss poetic technique as well as narrative content, and consider how these two things relate to each other.
- 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 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
Tear, idle tears. analyse, with close reference to the poem, how the author deals with the subject of loss4 star(s)
tears meant .It is also the retort of a wounded angry pride, the poet is ashamed at himself for crying over such a trifle. The tears had ?depth?, ?rise[ing] in the heart? suggesting that the tears weren?t shallow and feigned, the tears weren?t shed without meaning, instead, they were caused by an irrepressible sadness from the depths of his heart. ?Divine despair? further emphasizes that the sadness was no ordinary one, it was otherworldly, such that no other mortal would experience, symbolizing the devastation brought about by the loss.
- Word count: 1086
imagery of emptiness and desolation; 'among these barren crags, match'd with an aged wife' he not only graphically depicts his discontent but also suggests that he can not engage in procreation as his wife is infertile. However it soon becomes apparent that the narrators have entirely different objectives; Tithonus is weary of the world, he has been immortalised without eternal youth and as a direct result he must suffer the pain of age without the reprieve of death; his wife, Dawn, inadvertently neglected to request eternal youth for her lover from the Gods and as such he as and old man prays for death: 'the happier dead...
- Word count: 1163
Ulysses heroic desire to discover new worlds and to fight life to the end makes him a memorable character. The use of enjambment represents the idea of pushing forward 'beyond the utmost bound of human thought'. Tennyson's constant use of movement verbs, for example 'roaming', emphasises Ulysses desire for travel. The eating and drinking metaphors such as 'hungry heart' and 'drunk delight' represent the idea of fulfilment and Ulysses insatiable appetite for life and adventure. The intensifiers such as 'greatly' and 'much' emphasise this. Ulysses wants to live life to the full, and inspires the reader to do the same.
- Word count: 1085
With the use of dismal imagery, Tennyson constructs the setting to resemble a prison with "four grey walls, and four grey towers" entrapping her and physically separating the character from the rest of the world. The colour is repeated to enforce emphasis upon the monotonous and dreary existence of the Lady of Shalott, which contrasts dramatically with the rest of picturesque Camelot as the "sun came dazzling thro' the leaves" and the darkness is described as a beautiful "purple night".
- Word count: 1386
The main house - the 'thatch' - is 'ancient', 'weeded' and 'worn', the alliteration in 'weeded and worn' further emphasising the fact that the house is an uninhabited (save for Mariana) and 'lonely' place surrounded by a moat. As aforementioned, the moat physically isolates the house from the rest of the area. The fact that the poet has personified the grange is emphatic on Mariana's loneliness: she is so alone that even the most inanimate objects seem alive. The 'broken sheds' that looked 'sad and strange' add further to an atmosphere of desolation and misery, the alliteration found in 'sad and strange' contributing to this effect.
- Word count: 1438
Some of the greatest poems created by Tennyson are based on myths and legends. He possessed the talent of giving the myths and legends a very new look just to show how these poems adjust with the people and the crises of his time. These poems are - Ulysses, The Lotos Eaters, Tithonus, Oenone, Morte D'Arther etc. Now we are to discuss these poems and observe closely the use of myths and legends Homer's Odysseus or Tennyson's Ulysses is about to leave his island Kingdom of Ithaca and set out of a great adventure, because he is a man dissatisfied with his lot as a king.
- Word count: 1302