The Lady Of Shalott' by Lord Tennyson

Categories: Poems

'The Lady Of Shalott' by Lord Tennyson, is about a lady who has been banished to the island of Shalott and is only allowed to view the outside world through a mirror. Unfortunately, when Sir Lancelot goes by, the Lady of Shalott looks directly at him and sets off the curse, so she leaves her house and dies in a boat as she floats down to camelot. 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill' by William Wordsworth is about two completely different people, Harry Gill and Goody Blake.

The only way Goody Blake could survive winter, was by taking old, rotten twigs from Harry's hedge, but he grabs her arm and she puts a curse on him, so he can never again be warm. Goody Blake and Harry Gill' is mainly set in the past, although it starts off in the present, saying what Harry is like now.

Then it goes back maybe a couple of years in a flashback, to when this began.

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It is set in Dorsetshire, during the winter. Goody Blake's house was described as a 'poor' hut. From what we hear about Harry Gill, we would think that he has quite a good house. 'The Lady of Shalott' is set on and around the island of Shalott, which is in the middle of a river that runs past camelot. On the island there is a large house with 'four grey walls and four grey towers', which is surounded by nature (plants etc. . On either side of the river are long fields of 'barley' and 'rye'.

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It is set near harvest, we know this because Tennyson mentions the 'reapers', reaping early.

In 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill' only characters are mentioned which are, Goody Blake and Harry Gill. Goody Blake and Harry Gill are very different. Goody Blake was an old woman who has very little and bad clothes, we know this from Tennyson's use of the words 'thinly clad'. Goody Blake was very poor, and was ill fed. She lived in a small hut on the side of a cold hill.

Harry Gill is a young man who was strong and had a lot of good clothes. We know from the amount of clothes he had and the quality of them (like his 'flannel fine'). They also had different jobs. Goody Blake worked three hours a night, which wouldn't even pay for candle light. She spun things like wool. On the other hand Harry Gill worked with livestock which paid better. In 'The Lady of Shalott' two main characters are described, but a few other characters are mentioned. The two main characters are the eponymous heroine and Sir Lancelot.

Other people the story mention are reapers, lovers, village-churls, market girls, damsels glad, an Abbot, a curly shepherd lad, a page and other knights. We don't know much about the Lady of Shalott from what Tennyson tells us. All we know is that when she floats down to camelot, she is wearing a 'snowy white' dress, which would sugest innocence and purity. We also know that according to Lancelot, she had a 'lovely' face, apart from that quite a lot is a mystery. We know a little bit more about Sir Lancelot though. We know that he was rich, because his horse's hooves were burnished.

From what we know and suppose, Sir Lancelot is thought to be handsome (Like his curls). This might be the reason why the Lady of Shalott looked directly at him. In the poem of 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill', a vital part is played by the supernatural, which was the curse. The curse was that Harry Gill would always be cold, no matter how many, or how good, his clothes were. He was cursed becuase he grabbed Goody Blake by the arm. I don't think he deserved it though, because she was stealing in the first place. In 'The Lady of Shalott' there is a lot more involvement by the supernatural.

The first thing that suggests the supernatural is that one of the reapers calls the eponymous heoine, 'the fairy Lady of Shalott'. the way Tennyson refers to the Lady's mirror, as a 'crystal' mirror, and her tapestry as a 'magic web', gives a supernatural feeling. The supernatural really starts, when the Lady of Shalott's mirror cracks from side to side, after she has looked directly at Lancelot. After that all the weather everywhere goes bad. Whilst 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill' is structured so there are just 16 verses, 'The Lady of Shalott' on the other hand, is split into four parts.

Parts one and two have four verses each, part three has five verses and part four has six verses. The structure of 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill' goes from present to flash back and back to present. Wordsworth's poem rhymes in the pattern A B A B C D C D, which is very regular. The poem sometimes uses repetiton, like the onomatopoeia of 'chatter, chatter, chatter' is used to make us know that Harry Gill was cold. 'The Lady of Shalott', stays in the same time period for the whole poem. This poem has a different rhyming pattern to 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill.

Tennyson's scheme is A A A A B C C C B. The writer almost always uses the word camelot in each verse, because not only does it rhyme with Shalott and Lancelot, it is also a key place in the poem. In 'The Lady of Shallot' there are 19 verses. In 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill' there are a few techniques that I like. One of these is that in the tenth verse, Wordsworth uses a disjointed rhythm to break up the original pattern, so as to build up tension. Another technique I find succesful, is the way Wordsworth describes Goody Blake and Harry Gill as complete opposites.

When Harry Gill is going after Goody Blake, Wordsworth uses onomatopoeia like 'softly creeps', to describe how quiet he was. Wordsworth uses a few similes and metaphores as well, for example when Harry Gill is cold, a simile is used to show that Harrys teeth clattered like a 'loose casement in the wind'. Another good simile is when Wordsworth said Harry Gill had the 'voice of three'. Now the 'The Lady of Shalott' uses quite a few similes and metaphors. I like how Tennyson refers to the Lady of Shalott's tapestry as a magic web. I like the way Tennyson made Sir Lancelot, the person who unwilingly caused her death, say a prayer.

One of the similes I like, is when the Lady of Shalott is going down the river in the boat, and Tennyson refers to her as being like some 'bold seer in a trance'. Out of the two poems, I prefer 'The Lady of Shalott'. Most people think the only reason I chose 'The Lady of Shalott' as the best poem, is because it is the best known of the two, but the reason I chose it is because I personaly think it is a better poem than 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill'. This is because first of all I liked the idea of the story more. I also liked the rhyme pattern more in Tennyson's poem.

Updated: Apr 19, 2023
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The Lady Of Shalott' by Lord Tennyson. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

The Lady Of Shalott' by Lord Tennyson essay
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