Selected Poems – Alfred Tennyson
Look again at Part 3 of ‘The Lady of Shalott’ and write about Tennyson’s narrative
Authorial methods need to be related to the story being told in this section of the poem.
• narrative perspective/voices: omniscient narrator, seems admiring of Lancelot, upbeat tone
for this section, voices of Lancelot and the Lady of Shalott to end poem, etc.
• setting: medieval setting, mythical Camelot, the river, autumnal setting, etc.
• qualities of epic romance, third section of the four-part story, regular 9-line stanzas,
variation of the Spenserian stanza, use of repeated refrain, introduction of the name
Lancelot to complete the rhyme, etc.
• begins dramatically with Lancelot bursting into the scene, focus on his virility, masculinity,
egotism, final stanza - subdued reflections of the Lady and the drama of the mysterious
• formal elevated diction, use of repetition, use of figurative language, use of colour and
dynamic verbs, cosmic imagery, register of medieval armoury, use of elegiac language
and funereal rhythms at the end, motif of the journey, patterns, use of dialogue, use of
irony, importance of the Lady’s and Lancelot’s name, use of contrast, aural imagery,
significance of ‘Tirra lirra’, etc.
Several Victorian painters were inspired by Tennyson’s poetry.
How far do you think that the visual effects Tennyson creates are the most memorable feature
of his poetry?
Some will agree and focus on
• the images of Lancelot and The Lady of Shalott
• the image of the lonely Mariana in the moated grange
• Ulysses addressing his men at the port
• the sleepy Lotos Eaters
• Aurora as dawn approaches in ‘Tithonus’, Godiva’s ride etc
Some will disagree and focus on
• the aural imagery of the poems
• the stories themselves
• the presentation of women
• the classical and medieval settings, etc.
Accept any valid argument for what the candidate...