Analysis of Tennyson´s Lady of Shalot

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Tennyson’s Lady of Shalot is the story of a women living in a tower, cursed to never leave her tower and look down on the outside world. It is almost like Rapunzel, a girl locked away in her tower, separated from the outside world by a curse or a wicked witch, until a handsome young knight stumbles by her tower, changing her life forever. Depending on which version of Rapunzel you read however, it has a much happier ending than Tennyson’s work. Whereas Rapunzel leaves her tower under duress, she eventually ends up with the prince and lives happily ever after. The Lady on the other hand, makes the only serious decision she has ever made in her life, the decision to leave her sheltered room and venture out into the great wide somewhere, down to enchanted Camelot. The result is that she does not even make it to shore, but floats disinterestedly and acceptingly to her death, singing her song, in the boat that bears her only identifier.
The lady in the tower has next to no power over her own life. Tennyson never even presents his audience with a name for her. In a time period when the naming of things is considered to be one of the most important things about a character, we are presented with a woman known only as The Lady, or even just She. This person is a woman who is summed up in a pronoun and nothing more, a mere word that leaves so much to the imagination. Nothing is known about the woman’s life. She lives to weave and really wants to get out and explore. How did the Lady get even get inside that tower in the first place; was she born there? Who are her family or does she even have one? There are so many questions surrounding this woman, and there are never any answers. What exactly is it Tennyson was trying to portray with he...

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...back and think of England for the rest of her life. Or, and this is a big or, she can run. She has the strength of mind to know something is outside of the stone walls of her finishing school, and know that she needs to reach it, whatever the cost. Tennyson would have loved this young woman to pieces. She is strong, she is capable, and everything his lady of Shalot is not. The Lady of Shalot is a representation of a women who, unsure of herself and dissatisfied with the sham of a life she leads, wants more, but she does not understand what she wants and why she wants more. Tennyson wanted to show how women can fall into the towers spell, and curse themselves into believing they could keep their lives, or die by themselves. A Great and Terrible Beauty is a modern, young adult version of Tennysons work. It allows girls to see they have options, and just because you are

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