The Lady of Shalott

The Lady of Shalott - Fox Stephanie Fox EN 216-006...

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Fox Stephanie Fox EN 216-006 Professor Hollister 1 March 2011 Victorian Women in the “Lady of Shalott” Women who lived during the Victorian era in England had very limited rights as citizens. Women had no right to vote, own property, have a good education, or a safe job that made a sizable amount of money. While this time period worked to help women be able to have these liberties, they were still viewed in a certain way (BOOK 990). Men viewed women as stay at home group who had to obey their duties and husbands or suffer major consequences. They were supposed to be pure, loving, and essentially perfect. Because of these stipulations one title the women from this period received is “Angle of the House.” An example of how women struggle during this era is shown in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, “The Lady of Shalott.” This poem embodies all virtues of an ideal Victorian woman and her struggle with societal ideals through describing her confining place, the weaving The Lady must do everyday and night, the mirror, her decision to look out the window, and her punishment for disobeying. Tennyson’s poem opens with a detailed description of Camelot and its beauty, but then describes the Lady of Shalott’s confined place. The poem says: By the island in the river Flowing down to Camelot. Four gray walls, and four gray towers, Overlook a space of flowers, And the silent idle imbowers The Lady of Shalott. (Tennyson 13-18) 1
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2 The first thing we notice in these lines is that The Lady is secluded on a lonely island and is by herself. Also, Tennyson repeats the words “four” and “gray” to describe the building she is confined in. This shows a repetitive construction of the building the lady is ensnared in. Also, the color gray is very drab and can make things appear very uninteresting. These two things working together show the dullness and uniformity of the building The Lady is trapped in. Next, notice the flowers outside of the lady’s window. These flowers are meant to show the beauty of nature outside of the colorless place that the lady is trapped in. These two things work together to show how The Lady feels about the place she is restrained in. She finds the place very boring and uniform. The only thing of interest to her is outside out in the world. She is stuck here behind stonewalls and cannot go anywhere else, even if she desires to go somewhere different. She should just stay where she is and not try to escape from her fate of being a lady of the house. The
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The Lady of Shalott - Fox Stephanie Fox EN 216-006...

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