Victorian Poetry was an of import period in the history of poesy, supplying the nexus between the Romantic Movement and the modernist motion of the twentieth Century, as a consequence some of the most considered influential poets in the Victorian bequest include ; Alfred Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Matthew Arnold, and Robert Browning. This is merely to call a smattering of important poets. Although these poets frequently vary in manner and subjects, what can be found common amongst their poesy is the sense and contemplation of a conflicted ego. For case, throughout both Elizabeth Barrett Browning ‘s poesy, and besides within Robert Browning ‘s poesy we get a sense of hankering towards the Romantic period of literature, but it seems that they are constricted by the new usage of linguistic communication, the developing economic system and even the displacement in positions of faith. One more topic that is frequently changeless within Victorian poesy, although it may non needfully be obvious, is that of gender, maleness and muliebrity and the relationship between these and the writer itself. Typically the readings of the female personalities within Victorian poesy are frequently considered to follow that of the inactive personality who does non move but instead acted upon.
However I believe that it is just to state that non all Victorian poesy portrays the female personality in this superficial manner. If we look deeper into Alfred Tennyson ‘s “ The Lady of Shalott ” and Elizabeth Barrett Browning ‘s “ Aurora Leigh ” we may be able to look past the stereotyped positions of Victorian adult females that some of us may keep. Upon initial reading Tennyson ‘s “ The Lady of Shalott ” we begin to believe that she is about wholly inactive. This beautiful, yet unaccessible, lady ‘s yearss pass off as she remains trapped on the highest degree of a tower on the “ soundless isle ” ( Tennyson, 17-18 ) of Shalott weaving “ a charming web with colorss homosexuals ” . ( Tennyson, 38-39 ) . The Lady positions the universe through a mirror hanging infront of her window, and yet all she may see are the “ Shadows of the universe ” ( Tennyson, 48-49 ) for if she gazes out upon Camelot her expletive will take consequence, but she does non cognize what that consequence may be. “ To look down to Camelot. She knows non what the expletive may be. ” ( Tennyson, 41-42 ) . Much of this verse form I believe to be about that of the struggle between art and life. I believe that we can presume the Lady as the function of an creative person, isolated in her ain work, off from the existent universe, and the minute that she takes her head ‘s oculus, and her ain, off her art and gazes upon the existent universe decease befalls her. The verse form captures the creative persons desire for societal position, but yet the creative person may go lost within the societal circle and lose sight their artistic creative activity and therefore ensuing in the decease of the creative person. Apart from this may hold besides been a personal conflict for Tennyson. It may be a record of Tennyson ‘s quandary and battle into unwraping in other facets of literature, but yet he feared in making so as this may hold affected the thaumaturgy of his poesy. We besides can non overlook the fact that the Lady of Shalott is a Lady. We can merely presume that she is being restricted by her societal restraints, Tennyson portrays this by the tallness of the tower she is in and the H2O environing it. The tower may besides be a representation of a typical Victorian place, and the adult female bound within it. Merely as the narrative of the verse form deduces, any adult female who strayed from the societal normalcies were cast out from society, much like non-fictional adult females of Tennyson ‘s clip. Not merely is the Lady of Shalott trapped within the “ Four grey walls ” ( Tennyson, 15-16 ) but she is besides non allowed to show herself freely. Furthermore, as we see within “ The Lady of Shalott ” the consequence in interrupting these societal boundaries has terrible effects. However something that one think worth observing within this verse form is that, as I said earlier, although the Lady of Shalott seems to be a suppressed personality, she does take her ain destiny inter her ain custodies. However, another counter statement to that point is the fact that the Lady falls for the dominant masculine figure within the verse form, Sir Lancelot, stand foring maleness within the drama and another inhibitory factor for muliebrity. However, I believe that the Lady falls in love with the thought of love instead than falling in love with Lancelot himself.
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However it is here where Tennyson twists the functions of gender within the verse form and takes a expression at how his ain society and their positions on gender. From the beginning of the verse form the images environing the Lady are that of enigma, coloring material, beauty, and in general feminine by nature, bespeaking that the Lady is a typical Victorian lady:
“ Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Small breezes twilight and tremble
Thro ‘ the moving ridge that runs for of all time
By the island in the river ” ( Tennyson, 10-13 )
This in concurrence with maleness, which is associated with visible radiation throughout the verse form, when Lancelot is being described bright images are found in about every line, besides conjures a typical portrayal of a characteristic Victorian male:
“ As he rode down to Camelot.
As frequently thro ‘ the purple dark,
Below the starry bunchs bright,
Some bearded meteor, draging visible radiation,
A A A A A A Moves over still Shalott. ” ( Tennyson, 95-100 )
However, what is different here is the fact that it is the male personality that is missing deepness instead than the female character. Upon the Lady meeting Lancelot, all of her outlooks of him were crushed when Lancelot commented on the Lady ‘s face, “ She has a lovely face ” ( Tennyson, 169-170 ) . Lancelot sees nil past her skin color, nil about her life or personality or even the fact that she gave his life for him, for he merely sees her face. Therefore what would hold been, or possibly even should hold been, the verse forms most powerful figure is reduced to a shoal and frequently disliked character. Whereas it is the female character, the Lady, that seems to keep power, as I said earlier on, she is the 1 who takes affairs into her ain custodies and causes her ain devastation by come ining into the ‘real ‘ male dominated universe.
We can see a similar set of forms developing throughout Elizabeth Barrett Browning ‘s verse form “ Aurora Leigh ” . In the contrast of these two heroic poem poems we can see both of the chief female personalities are restricted by the regulations and ordinances of their society, functions and gender. In comparing to “ The Lady of Shalott ” the representation of adult females throughout “ Aurora Leigh ” reinforces our outlooks of Victorian adult females as inactive, controlled and restricted entities within the Victorian society. Besides in both poems we can see the effects of certain actions that result in the forcing or even breakage of these societal boundaries. For illustration in “ Aurora Leigh ” , Browning address the really serious job of harlotry faced by Victorian society through the characters of Rose Bell and Marian Erle. The narrative of Rose is told in brief by Marian about an orphaned miss who, through poorness, grew up to be a cocotte. A similar destiny loomed for Marian for although she does non go a cocotte and in her was one time thought to be of a virtuous nature, due to dire fortunes she becomes a individual female parent. Both of these characters must bear the effects of non being able to follow the societal outlooks of a adult female in the Victorian epoch and as a consequence dramatis personae out from society “ Girls bloom, sometimes, because they are alive, Half wishing they were dead to salvage the shame. ” ( Browning, berkelium. II, 732 ) . Although these are merely two illustrations of some of the many adult females that we meet throughout the verse form and one of the many ways in which we can construe the functions of adult females throughout the verse form, one of the more of import readings, in my sentiment, is that of the connexion between the poet and Aurora herself. Throughout the drama Aurora faces many tests in typical the female life style of a Victorian adult female, but the picks that she makes all reflect on her committedness to her art. Aurora rejects her suer as she believes that one time she is married her spouse will presume the function of spouse in her work and besides she shows bitterness for any individual that reject the thought of a adult female creative person or rational. This is a quality that can be related to Browning herself, for she was inexorable on projecting the ability of a female creative person and this is portrayed through the character of Aurora. Much like Tennyson portrays in the narrative of “ The Lady of Shalott ” , Browning besides believes that an creative person remains stray for the societal universe, and their art alternatively becomes their life.
I believe that Aurora ‘s committedness to her poesy and her duty to be a recognized poet is one of Browning ‘s most of import and powerful subjects throughout the verse form. Throughout the Victorian epoch female authors protested against gender favoritism and demeaned to be criticised as writers instead than as female. As a consequence many female writers created anonym. Although Browning tackles this quandary through a separate agencies, she embodies her character of Aurora and through her dumbfounding ability to compose she attempted to turn out that adult females writers could and should be recognised by their endowment entirely. Another common subject between “ The Lady of Shalott ” and “ Aurora Leigh ” , and yet another powerful one, is that of the reversal of functions. Similar to the Lady in Tennyson ‘s work, Aurora is portrayed as a submissive and inactive character.
It is a common subject throughout Victorian poesy for the female characters to be represented as passive, controlled and restricted personalities and have no pick but to accept the function that has been assigned to the by society and to follow those societal boundaries and failure to make so would ensue in utmost branchings. This is portrayed through what we know of Victorian society, and the literature of that epoch can frequently reflect the societal constructions of that epoch, and can even impact how the writer writes their work. Here we are presented with two really different plants of art by Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and yet in both verse forms, “ The Lady of Shallot ” and “ Aurora Leigh ” at that place seem to be common subjects. Throughout both poems we can see the inactive representation of Victorian adult females within their society, but more significantly what I believe to be deserving taking note of is the existent portraiture of both verse forms cardinal female characters. Bothe the Lady in “ The Lady of Shallot ” and Aurora in “ Aurora Leigh ” seem to incarnate the writer somehow. Throughout Tennyson ‘s “ The Lady of Shalott ” we can garner a sense of defeat that the Lady herself feels being isolated from the societal universe, and yet she knows that unwraping into such a universe will merely ensue in her decease. It is here that we can place Tennyson himself with the Lady, he excessively seems to experience frustrated at the fact he is isolated within his artistic universe, and floating into a separate literature manners may ensue in the loss of the thaumaturgy he captures with his poesy. We can happen a similar connexion between Browning and her cardinal female character, Aurora. All through the verse form Aurora strives to be recognised as an writer instead than to be criticized as adult female, as passion that deduced straight from the writer herself. It is with this that we realize that both of poets seem to hold taken on the function of the feminine personality and acted out against the male dominated universe that they live in, and it is with this that both poets mange to writhe the function of gender throughout their verse form, and take a expression at how their ain society views the functions of gender.