Tennyson Essay - Feminist Stance

Topics: Woman, Poetry, Coventry Pages: 2 (883 words) Published: February 25, 2014
How far do you agree or disagree that Tennyson offers a feminist stance in his poetry? I agree with the fact that Tennyson is a feminist in his poetry. I think that the poems Godiva and Lady of Shallot prove this. A feminist stance is where someone looks at texts through a woman’s perspective and theory, which is what Tennyson, does in these poems. Tennyson lived at a time when women were inferior to men therefore by him putting a feminist stance in his poems; it is a different perspective on that time. Women in the 1800s didn’t have much choice in things and were obliged to do what their husbands, father brothers etc. told them to do. In the poem, Godiva, Tennyson portrays the character of Lady Godiva, the wife of the Earl of Coventry. The poem is about her standing up to her husband and becoming independent by accepting her husband’s challenge to ride through Coventry naked to get rid of taxes for the people of the town. This is the complete opposite to the ‘women are inferior to men’ that was around in those days. Therefore, this shows Tennyson’s feminist stance as he is showing that despite how society pictures women in those days, Godiva became a legend by standing up for what she believed in. The other poem that proves Tennyson offers a feminist stance in his poetry is the Lady of Shallot; this poem is about a woman who is locked in a tower overlooking the town of Camelot. She has a curse on her which means that she cannot leave the tower or she will die, she has to constantly weave. In the poem, the Lady of Shallot continually sees people but she can’t have any contact with them and there is one that catches her eye particularly, Sir Lancelot. The fact that she can’t have any contact with him proves that she has some sort of masculine power over her and that is why she cannot leave the tower. Towards the end of the poem, she decides to escape from the tower and attempt to reach the town of Camelot. She floats down the river on a boat that she finds and...
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