How does Tennyson create the mood in "Marianna".

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The mood in Tennyson’s poem is reflective of the state of mind of Mariana. Mariana, taken from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, is despondently isolated as she waits and waits for her lover, Angelo, to arrive. But he never does, hence the abandoned and derelict tone.  

In Marianna, Tennyson represents Mariana’s state of mind through using objective correlatives – the surrounding objects around Marianna symbolise Mariana’s internal state – and in particular, by using pathetic fallacy, these surrounding inanimate objects are given human feelings, signifying Mariana’s feelings. In the first stanza, the “broken sheds look’d sad and strange.” The fact that even these inactive objects are given negative feelings creates a negative mood. A depressing mood is also created in the first stanza as the details are exaggerated.  The “blackest moss” creates a deathly and depressing mood, and the superlative exaggerates this. But also the internal rhyme between “thickly crusted,” (which describes how the flowerpots were covered with moss) and the “rusted” nails draws attention to the derelict and desolate landscape. The fact that moss and the rust only emerge after a long period of neglect highlights the severity of the neglect that Mariana has gone through, making the mood even more sorrowful.

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A sense of tiredness from waiting for her lover is emphasised through the form of the poem. The repetition of a quatrain at the end of each stanza, with only slight variation, where Mariana continually called out and expressed her grief, emphasises the length of time Mariana is secluded in the grange, and indeed the length of time that she has been waiting for Angelo to return. Thus, a sorrowful mood is created.

9        She only said, ‘My life us dreary,

He cometh not,’ she said;

She said, ‘I am aweary, aweary,

11        I would that I were ...

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