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?

1491 WordsNov 7, 20086 Pages
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…show more content…
“The Lady of Shalott,” although still trapped like the two other women, is trapped physically rather than mentally or socially. She is confined to “four grey walls, and four grey towers,” and can only look outside indirectly, through her “mirror clear.” Although trapped in her tower, she seems, unlike the other women, almost completely content with her situation. She is what could be described as the “ideal woman,” because she is passive and obedient. She never does anything out of the ordinary. The only thing the Lady of Shalott seems slightly unhappy about is the fact she has no “loyal knight and true.” This is shown by the way she says she is “half sick of shadows” after seeing “two young lovers” through her mirror. Tennyson uses lots of different poetical devices such as rhetorical questions, (stanza three,) and adjectives and adverbs to add to the sympathy the readers feel towards the Lady. “The Lady of Shalott,” just like “Cousin Kate” and “Mariana” has a rigid rhyme scheme and Structure, possibly to symbolise the planned and strict life that the Lady leads. In parts one and two of the poem, the Lady has kept very passive, doing nothing out of the ordinary, she just sits and “weaves by night and day.” In part three, however, a new character enters,

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