"The Lady of Shalott" by Lord Alfred Tennyson.

Essay by KvillePunk21College, UndergraduateB+, September 2003

download word file, 2 pages 3.0 2 reviews

Downloaded 99 times

The Lady of Shalott is an excellent example of Lord Alfred Tennyson's brilliant usage of verbal illusion. The Lady is depicted as a magical being who lives alone on the island of Shalott near the town of Camelot, where she is trapped inside a tower. She is forbidden from leaving the tower or looking directly out of the window at the world, because she has been cursed. No one has ever seen her, but they know she is in the tower because they hear her singing early in the morning. She passes the days by weaving tapestries on her web, of the things she sees through the reflection in her mirror. In the reflection she notices many people going down to Camelot. At first she is content with her life, then when she sees the knights ride past, she begins to realize how lonely she actually is. When she sees, 'two young lovers lately wed' in the moonlight, she becomes aware that she is missing out on romance.

One day she saw the reflection of Sir Lancelot riding alone in her mirror and was enchanted by him. Even though she knew it is forbidden, she leaves the tapestry and mirror to look at him directly. Instantly, she becomes aware that if she remains in the tower forever she will never be happy. Therefore, she decides to leave the tower. Although she knows that something bad might happen, she is willing to take that risk. She decides to take a chance because she can no longer live life in a shadow. The mirror breaks, the tapestry flies off in the wind, and the Lady starts to suffer from the power of the curse. Suddenly a storm arises and the lady leaves her castle. It seems the storm has something to...