Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Compare and contrast the descriptive effects achieved in the selection of Tennyson’s poetry you have read
Alfred Tennyson is famous for using a wide range of descriptive styles to emphasise and enrich his poems. His poems often reflect on many of life’s difficulties and how people seem to be trapped by their own actions. In the end the characters face a state of misery. “Mariana” and “The Lady of Shalott” are both examples of these kinds of poems. They feature two main characters both cut of from life because they are trapped. However they differ in that each woman has a different background and way of handling her problem.
“The Lady of Shalott” tells the story of the life of a woman, the Lady of Shalott, trapped in a tower by a curse. This tower is surrounded by beautiful scenery and wide large country side. A road runs by where people walk freely down “to Camelot”, a phrase repeated in the middle of each stanza. To this whole description of the surroundings Tennyson adds descriptive details and lots of different styles of writing for emphasis. To emphasise the extent of the country side long vowels are used: “Long fields of barley and of rye”. “Willows Whiten” is an example of alliteration for emphasis on the beauty of the flowers. Short vowels show quick movement and energy going on: “Little breezes dusk and shiver”. “The shallop flitteth silken-sailed”. Flitteth shows us a light darting movement, “skimming” also gives the reader this picture. All of these styles show how life is present outside; there is energy and adventure, a life worth living.
This all contrasts to the Lady of Shalott’s position. Already in the first stanza it is suggested that she is cut off from life, when “the road runs by Shalott”. The preposition “by” is used repeatedly in the poem to show her isolation. Her tower is grey, “four grey walls and four grey towers” and “embowers” the silent isle. This is an ironic use of the word “embower” as it is normally...