What Emotions does Tennyson explore in the poems ‘Mariana’ and ‘In the Valley of Cauteretz’ and what methods does he use to convey a range of emotions effectively? Tennyson explores many emotions throughout Marianna, In the Valley of Cauteretz which have been reflected from his life. Born to a large family of 12, Alfred Tennyson had many fears and worries in his life. Some of these worries included money due to the fact that Aunt Elizabeth Russell and Uncle Charles Tennyson had a great deal of wealth than that of his own family.
Tennyson also had a lifelong fear of developing a mental illness as several of the men in his family had a mild form of epilepsy. In those days it was thought to be a shameful disease which was made worse by the fact that his father was an alcoholic. His fathers’ condition worsened and he became paranoid, abusive, and violent. Marianna is a poem about Marianna, a woman who has been waiting for her true love and has become more and more desperate in an old lonely grange with a moat.
Tennyson uses a range of techniques to portray Marianna’s emotions.
The idea of loneliness and grief is highlighted with the use of pathetic fallacy and nature ‘after the flitting of the bats when the thickest dark did trance the sky’. Tennyson stresses her desperation at the last four lines of each stanza which recurs but with slight modifications ‘She only said,’ my life is dreary, He cometh not,’ she said; She said, ‘I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead! ’ It is almost a death wish which slowly she believes. In ‘In the valley of Cauteretz’ it is clear that grief, sorrow and loneliness are recurring themes in Tennyson’s work.
Right from the beginning of this short poem the effect the reader gets is that he is writing about a time in his life from experience and he is trying to go back to when he was happiest. ‘I walked with one I loved two and thirty years ago. All along the valley, while I walked today’. Tennyson tries to hide the bad times and think about the positive ‘the voice of the dead was a living voice to me’ showing that even though someone is dead, to him he is still alive. Tennyson had a friend called Arthur Hallam who died at a very young age hich was a great shock, because of this he presented the preciousness of youth in his poems by creating images which stress youthful joy. In the valley of Cauteretz describes an experience on revisiting a valley in the Pyrenees, years after he had been there with his now dead friend. This valley appears to shoe the reader a great psychological significance. As Tennyson describes himself travelling the valley, there are different elements which are triggered and crafter to create a lasting sense of how his friends’ death still affects himself decades later.
Tennyson uses a range of different poetic techniques to convey all these emotions effectively. Some may think that the use of repetition highlights the desperation and sadness of the ‘characters’ he writes about in his poems however the dactylic, experimental rhythm in my opinion helps make sentences stand out and in ‘in the valley of Cauteretz’ makes him want to portray his friend as different and that they didn’t have just an ordinary friendship but a very string bond.
Tennyson makes it clear to the reader that the valley was a place he had been before and had many memories from that place and he goes back in time using language making it seem as though the past has come alive ‘i walked with one I loves two and thirty years ago. All along the valley, while i walked today; two and thirty years were a mist that rolls away. Tennyson also used rhyming couplets which add effect of time passing by and to show that nothing has changed.
In Mariana Tennyson also uses some of these techniques but for different reasons. He uses nature and sounds to show that there was nothing there, no feeling, no life. The mood of ‘Marianna’ does contrast to that of ‘In the Valley of Cauteretz’ however the themes throughout both are the same and based on Tennyson’s life experiences. Marianna is a poem about a woman in a daydream that she will be rescued by her love and swept away from this forlorn, dreary place.
It is clear that in the final stanza Marianna has finally accepted that she will not be rescued by her true love and her final death wish is flooded with sadness ‘The sparrow’s chirrup on the roof, The slow clock ticking and the sound, Which to the wooing wind aloof, The poplar made, did all confound, Her sense; but most she loathed the hour, When the thick-moted sunbeam lay, Athwart the chambers, and the day, Was sloping toward his western bower.
Then, said she, ‘I am very dreary, He will not come,’ she said; she wept, ‘I am aweary, aweary, Oh God, that I were dead! ‘ In conclusion Tennyson explored many emotions linked to grief, sadness and loneliness effectively with the use of exciting language, repetition and metaphors referring to all the good times with his friend. Word Count: 886