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The Lady of Shallot

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 4 (975 words)
Categories: Book Review, Books And Reading, Literature, Poems, Poetry
Downloads: 18
Views: 312


Our task was to choose a poem from an anthology we were given and to perform it in groups. We could use drama or music to go with it, or we could use both, we could also use props if we thought it would suit it. In our group there were three of us and we chose to do a poem called The Lady of Shallot by Lord Tennyson. The Lady of Shallot has five parts but in my group we decided to perform only one part as it would take too long to perform it all.

The first part which we choose to do sets the scene.

The poem then goes on to talk about the lady of shallot and how there is a curse is upon her but she doesn’t know what it is, so she carries on life as normal until a mirror cracks. She then knows the curse is upon her, she goes down to the river and finds an abandoned boat under a willow tree.

She lies down in it and floats down to Camelot where the people there hear her sing her last mournful song and then she dies. It was a sad poem so we choose to wear dark colours, one of the members of our group dressed up as the Lady of Shallot, she wore a black dress and black hat.

The Lady of Shallot

We chose some music that sounded like a river flowing along to play in the background. I liked the poem we chose to do and I thought we performed it quite well. We had all learnt our lines and none of us forgot them. The poem was written by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Lord Tennyson was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, on the 5th August 1809, third surviving child of the Rev. George Clayton Tennyson and Elizabeth Fytche Tennyson. He wrote many poems throughout his life, he started to write them when he was just eight years old. He died in 1892.

The pattern of the poem is the same all the way through. Each verse has nine lines, the end word of each of the first four lines rhyme, and then there is a line which ends in Camelot. The next three lines then rhyme as well and the final line of each verse ends in Shallot. Repetition is used a lot throughout the poem, it gives a sense of a river flowing continually, rushing in some places and calm in others. An example of alliteration in this poem is willows “whiten”, you can almost see the willows turning white, the slow process speeded up so you can see the change.

Another example is bridle bells, as you say this it sounds like you can hear the bells, because of the way you say bridle bells. The poem is written in old English as it uses words we don’t use today, the dialect is also slightly different. An example of a phrase that we wouldn’t use today is “clothe the wold”, we wouldn’t use the word “wold” on its own we would only use it in the name of a place for example Cotswolds. Here is an example of assonance “An abbot on an ambling pad”.

“An abbot on an ambling pad”

It is just showing how slow the abbot is, if you say it a couple of times you can feel the slow, constant beat of this abbot walking along. Also depending on which syllables you decide to pronounce strongly the speed changes slightly but the overall effect is still slow. “The broad stream in his banks complaining”, this is personification taking an object and giving it feelings or describing it in a human way. In this they have given the banks of a river feelings and they are saying that the stream is running so fast and so high that the banks are feeling strained.

There are some rhetorical questions in the poem. There are three in the third verse they are not meant to be answered they are just thoughts. The first question is “But who hath seen her wave her hand? ” saying that either not many people have or no one has. The second question, “Or at the casement seen her stand? “, proving again that no one has really seen her only whispered about the curse which she has. The third question, “Or is she known in all the land, The Lady of Shalott? ” this final question is questioning whether people do know her but just haven’t seen her wave her hand or stand by the casement.

None of these questions are answered they are just left for your imagination and for you to ponder over. This could be a metaphor, “And her eyes were darken’d wholly”, making you feel as though they are very dark and that you could look into them and remain looking into them forever as they are never ending, also very strong and noticeable. When you read the poem there are lines which continue on and you have to read it with a flowing effect, so people can feel the river flowing when they hear it.


With the stress pattern you have to stress the first syllable strongly and the next not so strongly and then the next strong and it repeats this pattern every time you start a new line unless it is a sentence that is being continued. I enjoyed reading the poem and I also enjoyed performing it. Tennyson is a strong poet who always writes well and his poems have meaning as well as a good rhythm. The way he uses his words conjure up pictures and some of the alliteration and assonance he uses gives the poem feeling. I would definitely read other poems that he has written, and recommend others read them too.

Cite this essay

The Lady of Shallot. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-lady-of-shallot-new-essay

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