Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott

This paper discusses the connection between diligence and complacency in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s `The Lady of Shalott`.

This paper explains that `The Lady of Shalott` is narrative poetry in the form of a ballad, which displays a central theme of diligence in occupation in opposition to the theme of complacence and relaxation. The author points out that the Lady of Shalott represents a person who is wholly engrossed in her occupation; whereas Lancelot and the people of Camelot represent complacency and relaxation. The paper relates that Tennyson expresses the relationship between diligence and relaxation through his use of imagery, symbolism, and action.
`Imagery plays a crucial role in `The Lady of Shalott.` Shalott is an island; singular in its position, The Lady of Shalott is a woman whom is also singular in her position since she is constant in her loom work, and she is isolated like the island itself. The Lady is embowered in `four gray walls and four gray towers` that look upon a field of lilies. The image of gray walls and towers imparts a feeling of a dreary, monotonous routine, and the lilies of purity and a pallid existence. The weaving however, a result of The Lady’s occupation, is a magic web with colors gay. The connection that The Lady has with the outside world, her mirror, presents her with shadows, a perception of only images and shapes, devoid of soul and thought, mere pictures to her.`