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Mariana, Tennyson Essay

1192 words - 5 pages

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was one of the most famous poets of the Victorian era, some of his most famous poems include Ulysses, In Memoriam or Lady of Shalott. This paper will focus on his poem published in 1830 entitled Mariana. Mariana is Tennyson's well known poem, inspired by the charactre of the same name in shakespear's play Measure for Measure. T.S Eliot heard in Mariana 'something new happening in English verse”, and critics such as Carol Christ or Dwight Culler have “commented preceptively on its use of atomistic detail to create a landscape of strangeness appropriate to this sick-spirited maiden”. Mariana is a complex poem it is both a lyrical poem and a pathetic fallacy.
This paper will focus on how meter, rhythm, imagery, and metaphor create meaning and establish tone.

The poem opens with a quote from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure 'Mariana in the moated grange'. In the play Mariana is deserted by her lover Angleo, and she is spending her days in a solitary grange. The quote gives the reader of the poem the main theme it explores, which is Mariana's longing for her lover to return. It is interesting to note that the quote is lacking a verb, which implies that there is no action in the poem, that there is a sense of stasis or a sense of unending time, isolation and despair, Mariana can therefore be called a lyrical poem, indeed lyric poems as J.S Mill puts it express 'feeling confessing itself to itself in solitude'. It can also be described as a speech overheard, Mariana the poem is in a way a rewriting of Mariana the character of Shakespeare's play. The form of the poem also reinforce this ideas of lyricality, ' lyric poetry may be said to retain most prominently the elements which evidence its origins in musical expression'. 'she only said “my life is dreary, He cometh not” she said: She said, “ I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead” ' indeed the repetion of these lines at the end of each stanza is like the refrain of a song, it emphasises the bleakness and desolation of her environment, the repetion also highlight the monotony of her life, nothing happens, every day is like the day before, the refrain in that sense is a dramatic monologue.
Mariana, is also a pathetic fallacy, indeed, a pathetic fallacy can be described as the attribution of human emotions or characteristics to inanimate objects or to nature, it suggests that human feelings
could seek and find a sympathetic response in their natural surroundings. Indeed, Mill remarked that Tennyson in Mariana had “the power of creating scenery, in keeping with some state of human feelings so fitted to it as to be the embodied symbol of it, and to summon up the state of feeling itself.” Tennyson is therefore using the environment that surrounds Mariana to describe her state of mind. Indeed her surrounding is in decay, the nails are “rusted”, the shed “broken” and the thatch is “weeded” and “worn.” All those adjectives show that nothing or no one is taking care of the...

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