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The Lady of Shalott - Tennyson

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Western University
English 2033E
Gabrielle Ceraldi

th Major British Authors – Feb 13 Tennyson – “The Lady of Shalott” - Movement from shadows into realities - Natural world portrayed as prosperous, fertile, unified, harmonious, beautiful in first lines - World outside tower contrasted with world inside the tower – isolation/stasis vs. movement/community in Camelot as center of activity - Desire to move from isolation to integration, connect to community - She’s embowered/contained by the towers, the island, and the river - Desire to make herself known, express her identity – at first mysterious and unknown - Fairy lady associated with the supernatural - Tower as domestic space (and expectations associated with it) and woman escapes into public sphere – question of women at the time - A curse overhangs her if she doesn’t behave in the way she is supposed to - She can’t look directly at things; must look at them through her mirror - Similarities to Eve in prohibitions placed on her behaviour, then she is cast out - Movement from innocence to experience - Curse as social prohibition designed to keep this woman (and women) in her place in the domestic sphere and punishes her if she oversteps that space - The world is enticing because she’s not seeing it accurately – idealized, more tempting - Weaving – artist figure – poem thinking about the role of the disengaged, removed artist vs. a more socially engaged artist grappling with the real world - Weaving – woman’s work – fulfilling her domestic destiny – rejecting that later on - Web – something that entraps her – tower is a prison for her - Her discontentment at the end of part 2 is prompted by seeing the knights and the two lovers - Both funerals and weddings are equally noteworthy for her – indicative of social interactions rather than a sense of death/mortality - Significance of Lancelot – idealized love represented in the shield, stimulating love of outside world and of potenti
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