Essay: Tennyson’s and the Lady of Shalott

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Essay: Tennyson’s and the Lady of Shalott

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Comparing And Contrasting Tennyson’s Original and Revised Versions of the Lady of Shalott

The poem The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson was written for the first time in the year 1832, but a revised version was released in the year 1842 after ten years absence in the literature world. In the old version, The Lady of Shalott tells her story through the reflections that she sees in her magic mirror whereas in the new version Sir Lancelot tells the story of the Lady of Shalott.  The Lady of Shalott is a woman who has been imprisoned in a house, which has “four gray walls and four gray towers.” She is not allowed to look outside the window. During those times, women did not have equal rights as men and in most cases; they had to do as their men wished. They did not a right of choosing what to do. Of importance to note is the fact that the two versions have similarities as well as differences. In the old version, the Lady of Shalott is given concrete descriptions, which are removed in the revised version.

The Lady of Shalott had been cursed but she did not know what the curse was all about as evidenced in the two versions. She kept herself busy by weaving a web that is described as being magical. “The web was woven curiously, The charm is broken utterly, Draw near and fear not-this is I, The Lady of Shalott” is the beautiful web that she has been weaving as she admires Camelot (1832, 4). Her imprisoned is described in the two versions as one that must have been very traumatizing. In the old version she says, “Piling the sheaves in furrows airy, Beneath the moon, the reaper weary” to show that she could not leave the house (1832, 1). In the new version we are told “But who hath seen her wave her hand? Or at the casement seen her stand?” meaning that it was impossible for her to move around (1842, 1).

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