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A Few Words on Lady of Shalott
A Few Words on Alfred Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott"
By Paisley Hibou
I liked and observed several things about Alfredy Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott.” Tennyson maintains a perfect AABB rhyme scheme throughout the piece, like a nursery rhyme or fairytale told in verse. The poem also resembles a nursery rhyme in the sense that it is circular: every stanza ends in ‘Shalott.’ These structural characteristics enhance the poem’s Arthurian feel and themes. Diction, such as including “lilies,” “willows,” “the moon,” “glitter’d,” “echoes,” “the fairy,” “magic,” “curse,” “shadows,” and “whispers,” all augment the poem’s dreamy, romantic mood. I enjoyed the poem’s imagery, such as its description of how to get to Shalott and what the wildlife there looks like. The personification of aspens that “quiver” and breezes that “shiver” adds further charm to the poem. What I do not understand is why Tennyson broke up the poem into four different parts. It would have read more sweetly without these abrupt beginnings and endings. If he ever printed the poem as an illustrated book with plates separating each part, I might understand the decision, but as text alone, the set-up makes no sense to me. On another note, I also wish that the editor had included more footnotes, especially about the boat terms like “prow” and “shallop.” I made assumptions upon context but had to look up unfamiliar words to be sure.
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