Analysis Of The Poem ' Idylls Of The King ' Essay

Analysis Of The Poem ' Idylls Of The King ' Essay

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Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the author of Idylls of the King, uses motifs in his works to give a deeper understanding of his epic poem. One of his motifs in Idylls of the King is a light and dark binary. Light is seen as bright and beautiful with a new beginning. It also symbolizes the past staying in the past and having a fresh start. Night is when it is dark, and that is when all of the creatures and monsters come out, so to say. Darkness is full of pain, but Tennyson does not always portray it as so. The motif of light and dark takes on several different meanings. Tennyson uses dark with its true meaning, manages to put light into the darkness and use light with its true meaning, and he gives light the darkness that corrupts it.
In “The last Tournament,” Tristram is hiding an affair with Queen Isolt. King Mark spends “a summer day with Queen Isolt / Against a shower, dark in the golden grove” (Tennyson 242). Even though Queen Isolt is in a beautiful place with her husband, King Mark, she still appears dark. Dark in this context is being used to show that Queen Isolt is not pure or innocent, which is given by light. The things around her are golden and it is a summer day. Later, King Mark finds out of Queen Isolt’s affair with Tristram, which is the darkness inside of her. Tristram also attends the Tournament of the Dead Innocence, where the Red Knight comes ablaze. At the Tournament of the Dead Innocence, there is “An ever upward-rushing storm and cloud / Of shriek and plume, [that] the Red Kight hear[s]…” (Tennyson 244). Storms are not only loud and full of violence, but they are dark and full of destruction. The Red Knight hears this storm, which grabs his attention, and then he becomes the darkness of the storm. Shortly after th...


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...ily full of darkness either. He does have more darkness than light, though, especially towards his duties to Arthur. Sometimes, light is not what it seems, because the darkness within the light hides within the shadows.
Tennyson’s purpose is to show that children are born innocent, but as they grow older, they have to make decisions for themselves, and if they make the wrong decision, the light within them can be replaced with darkness. Arthur is born innocent, and his life is prophesied, but even though he does not know what will happen, he makes the best of his life. The people in his life bring darkness, but his light makes him blind to it. He believes and trusts the people closest to him, but since he is blind, his heart becomes full of pain and darkness. Tennyson uses symbolism and motifs to give his poem a deeper level of understanding for the reader to enjoy.

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