How far do you agree with the view that the women in Tennyson’s poems are presented as victims in a male world?
In “The Lady of Shallot” Tennyson portrays the lady as somewhat of a victim by being trapped in her room weaving as if she leaves she will break an elusive curse she is under. In line 63 we see that “she hath no loyal knight and true” this implies to us that she is utterly alone in her world and whether she stays or leaves men have set up a world she is doomed to fail by growing old alone or by dying. We go through the poem thinking that she is content with living in solitude looking out at the world through her mirror but when Sir Lancelot suddenly appears in Part 3 we see her look out the window and break the curse, this shows that Lancelot ultimately brought her to her death. But this point can be contradicted by the fact that Sir Lancelot did not even know he was being watched and you could argue that her own female weakness of sexuality led her to her own death. Following on the point that she is not entirely a victim it is shown in the lines “she left the web she left the loom...” Tennyson’s repetition of the world ‘left’ emphasizes the gravity of her actions and the fact that she has been trapped in the tower all her life and is now leaving implies a sense of freedom, this is also shown in the line “she loosened the chain” Tennyson could be symbolising the fact she is breaking free from the constraints of a male dominated world. On the other hand we again come to feel pity for the lady at the end of the poem due to the males and Lancelot’s curt attitude to her body and Lancelot’s comment that “she has a pretty face” which suggest that the male world is ignorant and conceited. In “Godiva” we are first introduced by Tennyson to Godiva as being part of a ‘legend’ this is then wildly contradicted when we get our first glimpse of Godiva as she is seen as being controlled by her husband “the grim earl” and is just a possession towards him which...
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