The Lady of Shalott

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Sean R. Lindsay
English Literature
Graves
11/16/11

Mirrored Isolation

The Lady of Shalott illustrates a strong allusion to the depths and cursed nature many poets or artists feel, the way they view themselves within society. Many artists feel restricted or isolated from the society they write about. Within the Lady of Shalott the woman in the tower is forced to view small glimpses of the world, small samples of human life and emotion and turn what she sees into art. Viewing life skewed from absolute reality is a curse of many artists, just as the curse of the Lady of Shalott deals with within her walls of solitude. The story itself is very straight forward, but the interpretation of the author’s true meaning are entirely up to the reader. When first read I immediately thought of Plato’s, “Allegory of The Cave”. It seemed fitting at first, as both the Lady of Shalott and the Prisoners within the cave view the world without full comprehension, they see a world outside of their control. They are both restricted to they place in life, one chained the other cursed. The “Allegory of The Cave” ends with the fear of change, human natures inability to accept the truth because of the comfort ability of living the lie. The Lady of Shalott ends with the vengeance of a “curse”. Her inability to control the forces of her own emotions and love drive her to die of a broken heart, drifting down the river towards Camelot. Upon second reading is when the true nature of the poem appeared. The artist and his or her inability to relate to society drive many to madness and suicide. That idea fits the story quite well. As the lady of Shalott is “forced” to look at the world from a far, and not only just from a great distance but not even directly, she is forced to view the world through the reflection of a mirror. Like the Lady of Shalott, many artists feel a strong disconnection from the real world, the world in which many of them write about and for. This is a depressing...
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