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“The Lady of Shalott” p. 1204. Arthurian Background. Based on medieval legend of Elaine, the Lily Maid of Astolat. Elaine died of love for King Arthur\'s greatest knight, Sir Lancelot. Illicit affair of Lancelot and Queen Guinivere led to civil war and destruction of Camelot.

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arthurian background
Arthurian Background
  • Based on medieval legend of Elaine, the Lily Maid of Astolat.
  • Elaine died of love for King Arthur\'s greatest knight, Sir Lancelot.
  • Illicit affair of Lancelot and Queen Guinivere led to civil war and destruction of Camelot.
  • Elaine\'s death foreshadowed destruction of Camelot.
interpretation
Interpretation
  • Arthur\'s ideal kingdom Camelot is analogous to Victorian society threatened by loss of traditional beliefs.
  • Tennyson\'s Lady could represent the artist\'s role in society.
    • tension between "private and public voices" in art
    • desire to create art as a private expression of beauty/emotion vs. desire to express a social message in art
form structure
Form/Structure
  • Ballad—medieval poetic form, intended to be sung
  • Uses repetition of words and sounds (alliteration and assonance) for dramatic effect
  • Repetition enhances sense of monotony, imprisonment, stagnation
  • Parts 1 & 2—Isolation/Imprisonment
  • Parts 3 &4—Active Participation
setting
Setting
  • Island of Shalott—stillness, remoteness
  • Lady’s castle/tower—isolation, imprisonment
  • River—activity, passage of life/time
  • Road to Camelot—involvement in human life
symbols
Symbols
  • Weaving—“a magic web”
    • Symbol of art
    • Imaginative reflection of “real world”
    • Creative and destructive (can entrap the artist)
  • Mirror—reflects “shadows of the world”
    • Distancing effect of artist’s perception of reality
    • Provides shadows instead of substance
symbols1
Symbols
  • The Curse—do not “look down to Camelot”
    • Contaminating effect on art of involvement in mundane life
    • Concerns for audience and social relevance can ruin an artist’s personal imaginative expression
symbols2
Symbols
  • Sir Lancelot—the blind, shallow audience
    • Images of dazzling light
    • Images of superficial materialism
  • The Lady—the withdrawn, misunderstood artist
    • Images of creativity and imagination
    • Images of imprisonment and stagnation
the lady of shalott musical adaptation
“The Lady of Shalott”: Musical Adaptation
  • You are listening to Celtic singer Loreena McKennitt\'s musical version of Tennyson\'s poem
  • How do changes in rhythm, tone, and vocals from one section of the song to another embody the poem\'s thematic duality--the conflict between a desire to withdraw from the world into artistic isolation and a desire to participate in life and community?
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