Literary Analysis: "Ulysses" and "The Lady of Shalott"

1269 Words6 Pages
Tennyson’s abstract poetic structure provides comprehension difficulties in finding a single thematic idea. He intertwines historical allusions, along with deep and person feelings through one piece of work. The organic structure of certain Tennyson poetry presents a tone of uncertainty. While his unconventional works give a more solidified aura. Contrary in structure, mood, and tone, “Ulysses” and “The Lady of Shalott”, harbor the underlying theme of coveting to escape from their idle worlds.

The Lady of Shallot was not depicted as an actual character in the land of Camelot. “Only reapers, reaping early/ In among the bearded barley/ Hear a song that echoes clearly/ From the river winding clearly (“The Lady of Shalott” 28).” Only those who venture to the fields early in the morning are reluctant enough to hear the beautiful voice of the Lady. With an aesthetic voice, no such assumption is made to presume her unhappiness. “There she weaves by night and day/ A magic web with colours gay. / She has heard a whisper say, / To look down to Camelot. / She knows not what the curse may be, / And so she weaveth steadily, / And little other care hath she, / The Lady of Shalott (“The Lady of Shalott” 38).” As she weaves her picture in happy, gay colors, she alludes to having no other care in the world. She will be cursed if she looks to Camelot. Her weaving substitutes for human involvement, due to her confinement to the tower.

Similarly, Penelope used weaving as a means to keep men from courting her while Ulysses was away, as her substitute for human interaction. Penelope used this mechanism while Ulysses reached the pinnacle of his life, fighting in the Trojan War. Now living as an “idle king (“Ulysses” 1),” reminisces on the war days...

... middle of paper ...

..., / They heard her singing her last song, / The Lady of Shalott (“The Lady of Shalott” 143).” After finally being able to recognize their true aspirations in life, the only memoriam that will remain will be the one they began with.

Tennyson’s abstract poetic genius in combining historical references and deeply felt emotion, causes comprehension obscurity in finding a single thematic idea. The distinction weaved through the works of “Ulysses” and “The Lady of Shalott” is depicted though the mood, structure, and tone. Although the differences vary heavily, an underlying theme of escaping their idle world appears evident through both pieces of writing. Through Ulysses, a grand warrior, and The Lady of Shalott, a locked away mistress, appear as contrary characters, their development in relinquishing themselves from redundant worlds relates them in various manners.

    More about Literary Analysis: "Ulysses" and "The Lady of Shalott"

      Open Document