This essay sample essay on The Lady Of Shalott Story offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion are provided below.
In both poems Tennyson uses a number of different devices to portray a strong atmosphere-landscape, loneliness, pathos and colour are all used. As both poems end in tragedy pathos appears very prominently to create atmosphere. Mystery, weather and sounds all contribute to providing The Lady of Shalott and Morte d ‘Arthur with the atmosphere appropriate to each poem.
Landscape is used in each poem to create a different atmosphere and effect. In The Lady of Shalott landscape is used to enhance the atmosphere by reflecting the mood of The Lady Of Shalott in the landscape. She starts the poem contented with her life.
“Long fields of barley and rye”
This line shows the pleasant world outside, the carefree atmosphere with the fertile land. The poem starts out not indicating that it will have a tragic ending.
However the mood of the poem changes when the curse comes upon The Lady of Shalott.
“Pale yellow woods were waning”
This line shows the change between the bright pleasant landscapes before the curse, to the now mournful dark landscape appropriate to the death of The Lady of Shalott. Once again her sad mood is reflected in the landscape. This compares to the landscape in Morte d ‘Arthur where the landscape is very painful and harsh,
“Dark strait of barren land”
This line contrasts with the fertile land in The Lady of Shalott, which makes the atmosphere in Morte d ‘Arthur very sad and desolate.
Unlike The Lady of Shalott, Morte d’ Arthur indicates straightaway that this a tragic story. The landscape is very threatening so the reader can picture what is happening in the story. The cruel and harsh atmosphere is therefore increased, as the story seems more vivid
When Sir Bedivere goes to dispose of the sword the description of the landscape shows the journey from where King Arthur lay to the lake.
“By zig-zag paths and juts of pointed rock,”
This helps the atmosphere by creating a treacherous landscape.
In Morte d ‘Arthur the descriptions of the landscape throughout the poem are all very harsh, even when King Arthur dies. However in The Lady of Shalott the description of the landscape changes to keep changes in the mood.
Colour is also used in both poems to evoke atmosphere. In The Lady of Shalott colour supports the landscape in providing appropriate atmosphere.
“Four grey walls and four grey towers”
Where the grey helps us to imagine the dull life that the Lady of Shalott lives compared to the world outside.
“That sparkled on the yellow field,”
Enhances the landscape giving the outside world an atmosphere of beauty and serenity. This is the view that the Lady of Shalott sees when she looks out of the window. The reader can picture what Sir Lancelot looked like and what encouraged her to look out of the window therefore bringing the curse upon herself. The use of colour gives the beginning of the poem the bright atmosphere needed. Then when she dies Tennyson uses colour to provide the dark mournful atmosphere required.
“Lying, robed in snowy white”
This is an example of how the colour changes from the bright colours before the curse to the now mournful haunting images.
In Morte d ‘ Arthur Tennyson uses colour when describing the sword Excalibur.
“Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth work of subtlest jewellery”
The reader can imagine what the sword looked like and what Sir Bedivere would have to throw away. The colours help to build up the picture, which helps the atmosphere become more charged. The reader can see what Sir Bedivere was throwing away and why he was so against doing so.
When the King dies like in The Lady of Shalott colour is used to provide a dark mournful atmosphere. It is also used to describe what both people looked like when they died.
“His face was white and colourless”
Sound is used to evoke atmosphere in both poems. In The Lady of Shalott sound is used to show along with colour the cheerful atmosphere outside on the way to Camelot.
“And music went to Camelot”
In Morte d ‘Arthur however sound is used to provide the poem with the haunting chilling atmosphere that it needs.
“The sea sang shrill, chill with flakes of foam”
This line gives us an idea of the coldness of the atmosphere. Sound also helps us to imagine Kind Arthur dying.
“King Arthur panted hard”
From examples like this we get an idea of the king’s condition therefore giving a sad atmosphere to the poem.
Weather also evokes the atmosphere in both poems. In The Lady of Shalott the weather at the beginning of the poem is reflected by the mood of the Lady of Shalott.
“All in the blue unclouded weather”
Once again this example shows how pleasant the outside world is and giving it the cheerful atmosphere. However later on in the poem when the mood changes when the curse comes so does the weather.
“In the stormy east wind straining,”
This example shows that when the Lady of Shalott dies and the mood changes so does the weather. The atmosphere becomes a lot rougher and the reader can imagine the wind blowing very hard. This is a contrast to the pleasant weather at the beginning of the poem,
“The sun came dazzling through the leaves”
In Morte d’ Arthur the weather also reflects the mood, so the weather all the way through is very wild and cold.
“Like a wind, that shrills”
This example shows that the weather is in tune with the mood of the characters and helps create the atmosphere. This weather then contrasts with the end of the poem when King Arthur is taken away to what we are encouraged to believe is heaven.
“Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow, Nor ever wind blows loudly”
This is a real contrast to the atmosphere at the beginning of the poem,
The mood is now more calm but still sad.
In both poems Tennyson uses isolation very effectively to help create atmosphere. In The Lady of Shalott the basis of the poem is that she is isolated in the tower and is only reunited with people when she is dead.
“Round an island there below, the island of Shalott”
This example shows how isolated she is from Camelot and the cheerful atmosphere, even though she seems contented. When she dies Tennyson uses isolation to show that she died alone.
“Singing in her song she died”
This adds atmosphere as the reader feels pity for her.
In Morte d ‘ Arthur isolation is used also. The king is left alone in the world to die, although he has Sir Bedivere even he is not doing what the king wishes.
“For thou, the latest left of all my knights,
In whom should meet the offices of all,
Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt;”
The reader can see how alone the king is when he dies. Therefore, providing the poem with an atmosphere that is desolate and lonely. This is very much like the Lady of Shalott who is also alone when she died.
Pathos is used a lot in each poem as each has a tragic ending. In The Lady of Shalott, pathos is used more when she dies at the end of the poem. As to start with she seems content with her life. When she dies, pathos is used when the curse came upon her.
“And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away.”
This provides a pitiful atmosphere as we see her die. The poem becomes very sad. Tennyson describes her dying in much detail. This contributes to the sad atmosphere.
“Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,”
This is an example of Tennyson using pathos. Also, when her body is found, pathos is used. Sir Lancelot says
“She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott.”
Pathos is felt for The Lady of Shalott especially as, ironically, Sir Lancelot he does not realise that he has caused her death. This adds to the atmosphere of pathos as the story is very sad but this is all Sir Lancelot can say. In Morte d’ Arthur, pathos is also used, as this is the end of the Christian Britain that was Arthur and the Knights.
“Of Camelot, as in the days that were.
I perish by this people which I made,”
His own people have turned against him. Pathos is also used when Sir Bedivere disobeys Arthur as the reader feels for Arthur. Arthur used to be powerful and in control, he had respect from everybody but now he has none.
“Authority forgets a dying King”
This line concludes what is happening to king Arthur, he has lost all authority and the England that was is now no more.
“So like a shatter’d column lay the King;”
This line sums up what King Arthur has become, the atmosphere therefore becomes very sad and full of pathos.
The atmosphere all the way throughout Morte d ‘Arthur is very sad and full of pathos. This atmosphere is appropriate to King Arthur dying. However the atmosphere in The Lady of Shalott starts with a happy atmosphere as the lady of Shalott is content with her life. When the curse comes upon her the atmosphere changes and becomes more like Morte d ‘ Arthur. Throughout the poem the atmosphere is reflected in the mood of the characters.