Compare and Contrast the Portrayal of Women in Three Victorian Poems. How Effectively Have the Poets Used Language, Structure and Tone to Gain the Reader’s Sympathy for Each Woman’s Plight?

Topics: Victorian era, Poetry, Woman Pages: 4 (1491 words) Published: November 7, 2008
Women in Victorian England were seen and treated very differently to how they are treated now. Common Victorian ideas about the “ideal woman” were that she should be innocent, passive, and always obedient to men. Women had no significant place in political society, and had no right to vote, work, or even own their own money. They were more or less an object owned by either their father or their husband. “The Lady of Shalott”, “Cousin Kate” and “Mariana” are all poems on the subject of the role of woman in Victorian society and how men sculpt their lives. All three poems revolve around a woman who is alone and hurt by a man. In the “Lady of Shalott’s” case it was in fact a man’s fault that she came to the end she did. In “Mariana,” the only character present is the Victorian woman, Mariana, who has locked herself away from the outside world after being heartlessly left by her fiancé. She lives in her own world while rejecting the real one. She cannot look apon the “sweet haven,” which refers to the world beyond her “moated grange.” The personification of the “lonely moated grange” and the “sad and strange” sheds give the poem a feeling of melancholia, and contribute to the feeling of sympathy the reader feels towards Mariana’s plight. The last four lines of each stanza are used as a chorus, and this puts emphasis on the fact that she has lost almost all hope of her lover ever returning, shown by the way she says “he cometh not.” In all but the last stanza, Mariana says “he cometh not,” implying that although he hasn’t returned today, she still has some hope he may still arrive. In the last stanza, however, she instead says, “He will not come.” These words have more finality to them, and show she has finally accepted that he will probably never come back to her. Mariana is portrayed in this poem as a woman who has given up on life. She has been left by her fiancé and takes it extremely badly. She is depicted as a stereotypical Victorian woman. She is shown to not...
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