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Elaine of Astolat in Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott and Lancelot and Elaine

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Elaine of Astolat in Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott and Lancelot and Elaine

    The Arthurian legends have fascinated people over the centuries with tales of kings, noble ladies, knights, magicians, love, and death. Among those who wrote about King Arthur's reign was Alfred, Lord Tennyson. One of his poems, "The Lady of Shalott," became immensely popular for its moving pathos and mystery. Yet, the poem was based on a character from Arthurian legends - Elaine of Astolat. Several years after composing the poem, Tennyson wrote directly about Elaine's tragic love affair with Sir Lancelot in "Lancelot and Elaine," found in his epic piece Idylls of the King.  Although both poems share many of the same features, they portray the two ladies quite differently from one another. The Lady of Shalott is a fairy of sorts, residing in a magical world, while Elaine is a purely human character according to Arthurian legends. The differences are quite apparent when viewed according to the women's family structure, interaction with society, presence of magical elements, and manne...

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...on & Company, Inc., 1971.

- - -. "The Lady of Shalott."The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M. H. Abrams. 7th ed. Vol. 2. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2000.

Trubshaw, Bob. "Fairies and Their Kin."At the Edge. Vol. 10 (1998): 33 pars. October 2000. <> (7 April 2002).

Tucker, Herbert F. Tennyson and the Doom of Romanticism. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1988.

White, T. H. The Once and Future King. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1958.






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