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Descriptive Language and The Lady of Shallot

In any piece of lyrical poetry, authors must masterfully use the language of the poem to covey the intended meaning. In order to ensure the meaning is not lost, it is imperative that the author incorporates various aspects of the narrative to escalate the poem past its face value. Alfred Tennysons poem The Lady of Shallot is no exception to the rule. From lines like blue unclouded weather and the gemmy bridle glitterd free, one can draw that descriptive language is Tennysons tool to revealing the underlying meaning (Griffith 334). In each of the four parts of The Lady of Shallot, Tennyson uses descriptive language to convey his intended meaning to the audience.Tennyson uses Part I to show the setting of the poem, and introduces the Lady of Shallot to the audience. Part I starts off with a description of Long fields of barley andrye that clothe the wold (hilly, open country) (Griffith 332). From this line in the opening stanza, the reader already gets a sense of where the poem takes place, a gently rolling countryside of utmost beauty. In the second stanza, lines like Willows whiten, aspens quiver, little breezes dusk and shiver further our mental picture of the setting (Griffith 332). Later in the stanza, we learn of four gray walls, and four gray towers and that the silent isle imbowers the Lady of Shallot (Griffith 332). Tennysons description in the last couple of lines of this stanza introduces the Lady of Shallot and gives a feeling of her isolation (which is quite important toward the poems meaning, and will be built on later in the piece). The final stanza in Part I tells how early morning workers hear a song that echoes cheerly from the river and think that it is the fairy Lady of Shallot (Griffith 332). Through words like echoes cheerly and describing her as a fairy, the reader gets a sense of beauty (this beauty unbeknownst to the people I might add) from the Lady of Shallot. All of Part I sets up the rest of t...

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