Lady of Shallot

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Dillard 1

Abby Dillard

EN 1103

Mr. Tyler Trimm

April 15, 2010

Predestination in The Lady of Shalott

The ballad, "The Lady of Shalott", written by Alfred Tennyson in 1833, is an analysis of the Victorian woman's predestined role in society and her free will desire to abandon this identity and break free into the male dominated world. In the Victorian Age, society had very little tolerance for those who did not conform to the predetermined roles. This is shown through the main character in "The Lady of Shalott". The Lady represents those who did not reciprocate the idealized role of women during that time period. The Victorian age was one of much turmoil with women actively campaigning for more rights in a male dominant society. During this time men were considered to be intelligent, strong, powerful characters, while women were emotional, and only capable of housework and raising children.

It is the Lady's rejection of these Victorian ideals of femininity that ultimately lead to her destruction. After seeing the city's people interacting and the charming Knight Lancelot, she rejects her life of solitude and seeks a new lifestyle, but unfortunately, the restricted society she escapes to has no place for the creative female and ultimately leads to her demise.

The Lady is doomed to remain a stranger to society. She is completely isolated on her own island in a tower near the Victorian town of Camelot. The Lady's confinement reflects the Victorian attitude towards women. The image of the "four grey walls, and four grey towers" (357) gives a restricting and prison like feel to her lonesome tower. The bland grey walls drastically contrast to the colorful outside world which she is foreign to her. The outside world is described as "Willows whiten, aspens quiver/Little breezes dusk and shiver"...