Tennyson and Romanticism Essay

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Alfred Lord Tennyson was not called a romantic poet in his homeland of England, but his work contained aspects of romantic literature. Highlighting these aspects of romanticism in Tennyson’s work is difficult without first defining romanticism and identifying its underlying principles. According to Webster’s Dictionary romanticism is “a literary, artistic, and philosophical movement originating in the 18th century, characterized chiefly by a reaction against neoclassicism and an emphasis on the imagination and emotions.” Neoclassicism was the artistic form used prior to the romantic period that focused on an acceptance of the established forms of religion and an emphasis on style similar to the ancient Greek and Roman poetry. …show more content…
This desire to break away from the standard social roles of women in society is one way in which Tennyson’s use of romanticism in reaction against neoclassicism is demonstrated. Within The Lady of Shalott, there appears a lot of nature and emotional description. Everything outside of the tower is bright and beautiful - the river, the grass, the fields of rye, the people walking by in love or in morning - all alive and beautiful while The Lady sits in her tower and weaves shadows of that life that she is forbidden to experience. Bright and beautiful, the world points to everything that The Lady is denied: love, color, human interaction, and life. The Lady sees all of the life and color in her mirror, while her surroundings the gray tower her loom and mirror give the impression of restriction, close control, and imprisonment. “His broad clear brow in sun light glowed;
On burnished hooves his war horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flowed
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot. From the bank and from the river He flashed into the crystal mirror,” (Christ, Robson 1116)

With so much of beauty, so much of experience going by outside her window she finds herself naturally drawn to it, she becomes so

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