What Techniques Does Tennyson Use To Tell The Story Of Mariana

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What Techniques Does Tennyson Use To Tell The Story Of Mariana?

Tennyson uses place and setting, time, characterisation, imagery and form to tell the story in his poem Mariana, based on the character of Mariana from Shakespeare’s play Measure for Measure. The poem is about the character Mariana, who after losing her dowry in a shipwreck, her lover Angelo leaves her. In the poem, we see Mariana slowly coming to terms with the fact that Angelo will never be coming back to her. Tennyson uses place and setting to show that Mariana’s feelings of despair have impacted on her surroundings, leaving them in disrepair and neglected. Throughout, we see evidence of Mariana’s neglected home. For example, in the first stanza, Tennyson mentions “rusted nails” and a “broken shed.” This shows that Mariana does not care about the state of her home, as she is so wrapped up in her own depression that what is around her doesn’t matter. Alternatively, it could be said that Mariana, as she has lost her money, cannot afford to repair the damages, which would further emphasise the all-encompassing effect losing her money has had. Her home also reflects her internal bleakness, as she lives on a “lonely moated grange.” The moat surrounding her home suggests that she is cut off from the rest of the world, not only mentally but physically by the body of water. Even the surrounding land around Mariana’s grange reflects her desolation. The home is situated on flooded lowland, called the “fen”. This low, flat land could suggest Mariana’s one dimensional personality, as she is overtaken by grief.

Time is also used to tell the story in Mariana. The only real mention of time passing is in the refrain at the end of each stanza. There is either “the night,” “the day,” or “my life,” suggesting that Mariana has lost track of time, and the days and nights are all blending together for her and just form one huge expanse of time. She is trapped in time, with no real sense of days passing. Her...
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