Lady of Shalott

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Lady of shalott
Symbolism is an important aspect of the Lady of Shalott. Some important symbols are the tapestry, the mirror, and the curse. The tapestry is the world that the Lady of Shalott exists in. It is her reality. She looks through the mirrors distorted view and weaves what she sees. It is her experience and memory. But, the Lady of Shalott does not se true reality but a distorted view. The mirror represents the Lady of Shalott's naiveté and innocence It is the rose-colored glass through which she sees reality. Furthermore, because, a mirror is not the truth, and is instead only a reflection of the truth, it shows the distorted view that the Lady of Shalott has. (The mirror being distorted reality is especially interesting when one considers that it is typically used as a symbol of the cold, hard truth. This difference gives added emphasis on the importance of this symbol within the poem, as well as telling us that the Lady of Shalott did not realize that view of the world was warped.) All this changes when she looks out the window and onto an undistorted world. The Lady of Shalott loses her innocence by falling in love. Thus, the tapestry (how she saw the world) flies out the window and disappears, and the mirror (the naive perspective through which she sees the world) cracks. The Lady of Shalott is unable to handle the loss of her world coupled with the unrequited love she feels for Sir Lancelot and kills herself. The curse that the Lady of Shalott falls prey to is unrequited love. She loves Lancelot loves Queen Guinevere. The central themes concern isolation, apprehension of reality, and the proper province of art. Initially the Lady resembles other of Tennyson's isolated maidens--Mariana, Oenone, the Soul in ``The Palace of Art.'' Dwelling in the island tower, she is barred from the outside world by the four grey walls, the river, and the threatened curse; and her alienation is increased, not alleviated, by the window, through...
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