Dreams And Imagined Visions By Tennyson

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As early as the second section we are told of Hallam 's final burial below a Yew, whose “fibres net the dreamless head of Hallam. Tennyson 's choice to focus on the “dreamless” aspect of his friend 's skull above any other adjective such as 'lifeless ' or 'thoughtless ' places an emphasis on dreams at an early point in the poem. Dreams act as a place inbetween the hard, sometimes unbearable reality of Tennyson 's loss and the unreachable state of heaven that Hallam is in. Dreams and imagined visions are the places where Tennyson is able to truly grapple both the pain caused by the loss of his friend and the accompanying religious doubt.

It is one of these dreams that Tennyson comes into contact with a mysterious “angel of the night” who transforms the symbolic crown of thorns he is wearing “into leaf”.

“He reach 'd the glory of a hand, That seem 'd to touch it into leaf; The voice was not the voice of grief, The words were hard to understand.”

The “angel” mentioned could either be a version of the spirit of Arthur Hallam, with which Tennyson enters into many passages of imagined dialogue, or a dreamt version of a Christian angel, partaking in a transformative process. The ambiguity of the situation is important, while it seems unlikely that it is Hallam 's true spirit given Tennyson 's continuous desire for that very encounter in much of the rest of In Memoriam the very suggestion combined with the restorative process of a positive force provides a note of hope

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