Tennyson had a rough ride with love or at least you would have thought so by reading the two poems he wrote. Both of the poems are loosely based around love. The poem also takes on widely discussed and debated issues such as the role of women. As well as taking on widely discussed and debated issues such as whether art should be shared with the world. The poems are also a great base for artist as Tennyson was a pictorial writer. As I stated in the introduction both of the poems have a lot to do with love. Although they are similar by having the main theme as love, both portray it in different ways.
But they are similar as the love is unrequited love. We know that it is unrequited love in Mariana because it says “ Then, said she, ‘ I am very dreary, He will not come, ‘ she said; She wept, ‘ I am aweary, aweary, Oh God, that I were dead! ” “ He cometh not,” refers to the man that she loves. “ Oh God, that I were dead! ” this shows that she is extremely distraught that she is not with her lover that she wishes that she was dead. This is made worse because she is totally isolated from any other human interaction so she has nothing to take her mind of her lover.
In the Lady of Shalott, the lady of Shalott falls in love with Sir Lancelot, but again it is unrequited love. ” ‘ Tirra lira,’ by the river sang Sir Lancelot. ” This shows that Sir Lancelot does not notice the Lady Shalott even though she notices him, which is evidently unrequited love. The fact that the Lady of Shalott is not with Sir Lancelot is made worse by the fact that 2 young lovers wed before she saw Lancelot. The Lady of Shalott envies this because it is something that she hasn’t got and she knows she can’t have because of the curse she thinks she has.
This also makes her feel isolated and restless because she is stuck in this tower, but everyone else is free to do what they want. We know that she feels restless because it says “ she left the web, she left the loom, she made three paces thro’ the room, she saw the water lily bloom, she saw the helmet and the plume, she look’d down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; the mirror crack’d from side to side; ‘ the curse is upon me,’ cries the Lady of Shalott. ” This also shows that she believes that there is a curse upon her and it shows that her love for Sir Lancelot has affected her and the way she behaves.
But the poems differ by what the main characters do in order for love. Mariana does nothing and stays in her moated grange longing for her lover and getting in to a worse condition. We know that she is getting in to a worse condition because as the poem goes on in the repeated verse we know that her condition gets worse and worse. The first time she says it in the poem she says, ” ‘ My life is dreary, He cometh not,’ she said; She said, ‘ I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead! ‘ ” But in the last verse she says it in a worse mental condition. ‘ I am very dreary, He will not come,’she said; She wept, ‘ I am aweary, aweary, oh God, that I were dead! ‘
” So as you can tell there is a difference in her tone, which gets more drastic as the poem goes on. But in the Lady of Shalott the Lady of Shalott actually goes on a boat own the river to Camelot. While she is on the boat the weather changes to autumn. The poem now takes a depressing and miserable tone. As soon as she reaches Camelot she dies. In this part of the poem Tennyson especially uses pathetic fallacy. He uses pathetic fallacy by having the weather change to the weather that is typical of autumn.
Autumn symbolises the end of life such as leaves falling off trees so it is appropriate to have autumn weather just before the Lady of Shallot dies. The fact that the Lady of Shallot dies for love makes it more romantic. In both the poems the main characters are women. I think that both poems make references to the role of women in society. In both of the poems both women are trapped and can’t escape. I think that this is trying to suggest that in society at the time Tennyson was writing, he thought that women were trapped by the thought that a woman’s place was in the home.
I think that Tennyson is trying to make a point that at the time women were doomed by what is expected of them. I also think Tennyson makes the point that if they try to escape from this stereotype they won’t last long. He makes this point by having the Lady of Shalott escaping and then shortly after dying. I think the points I just stated are mainly in the Lady of Shallot but are still hinted at in Mariana by the fact that she cannot escape. The Lady of Shallot takes on another widely debated issue and that is whether art should be shared with the world or kept to the artists themselves.
He does this by having the Lady of Shallot weaving a web of what she sees through the mirror she uses to look at the real world. We know that she weaves a web because it says, ” But in her web she still delights to weave the mirror’s magic sights,” In both of the poems the main characters are both not mentally stable. We know this by a number of techniques Tennyson uses to create the characters minds. This especially applies to the poem Mariana. One of the main techniques Tennyson uses in the poem Mariana is pathetic fallacy.
One of the ways he does this is by putting “ Hard by a poplar shook away, All silver-green with gnarled bark: For leagues no other tree did mark The level waste, the rounding grey. ” This is significant because I think that the poplar tree is representing Mariana. I think Tennyson is trying to make a point that Mariana is very lonely and has been hurt. I think that he does this by having the poplar tree by itself in a grim surrounding. Also I think that because the poplar tree’s bark has been gnarled it suggest that Mariana has been hurt.
I think that she has been hurt by the fact that she can’t be with her lover. Another way Tennyson uses pathetic fallacy is by having the grange and its surroundings as if it was a derelict. We get this image by a number of things. The image is given to us very vividly at the start of the poem. It says, “ With blackest moss the flower-pots Were thickly crusted, one and all: The rusted nails fell from the knots That held the pear to the gable-wall. The broken sheds look’d sad and strange:” This shows that everything outside has not been looked after and I broken.
Also in the poem it says that the grange has a moat around it. The significance in this is that again it suggests that Mariana is isolated. Also Tennyson uses onomatopoeia. One example of this is “ The slow clock ticking,” this suggests that her life is very monotonous so time goes very slowly. Another way Tennyson uses onomatopoeia is by using, “ clinking latch”. This could be suggesting that she is agoraphobic. But personally I think that the grange is her state of mind she is in, and no matter how hard she tries she cannot escape. Another poetic technique that Tennyson uses is personification.
He does this by putting “ marish-mosses crept. ” This is personification because moss does not creep. So this suggests that everything around her is closing in on her. So this implies that she is paranoid. Another technique Tennyson uses is alliteration, for example “ wooing winds”. He used alliteration to help create the setting which is creating Marian’s state of mind. Descriptive language is another technique Tennyson uses to help show Mariana’s state of mind. He does this to give the reader the most vivid image of Mariana’s state of mind.
He does this very well because as soon as we start reading we realise that the setting is very dark, gloomy, sad, depressing and monotonous. Tennyson also uses time changes. He does this by swapping from day to night and the other way round. But Mariana doesn’t really change the way she feels. So no matter what time it is nothing changes for Mariana so this gives the impression that her life is really monotonous. One main and obvious techniques Tennyson uses is repetition. I have already stated this early in the essay. But the repetition of these lines again gives the impression that her life is really boring and monotonous.
In the Lady of Shallot there is not much detail to her state of mind compared to what there is in Mariana, but there is still some references. One-way we know that she is not mentally stable is that she believes a curse upon her but she doesn’t know what it is. We know this on her because she says, “ A curse is on her if she stay To look down to Camelot. She knows what the curse may be,” I think Tennyson puts this in for a number of reasons. One I have already stated is that the curse is the expectation that women should stay at home and looked at as the weaker sex.
He also puts this in is because the normal person doesn’t believe in curses so it implies that she is not normal. Of course she is not going to be normal if she has been segregated from society by her own choice. So overall both poems have a range of techniques in them that help to create a picture in the readers mind. In both of the poems Tennyson brings up widely discussed issues such as women’s role in society and whether art should be shared with the world. Tennyson may not have had a rough ride with love, but he sure did have a great understanding of it and the power it has on people and this is clearly shown by these two poems.
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