The Lady of Shalott is a poem that gives the reader a synopsis of the situation presenting a river, road, and far in the distance the towers of Camelot. The people in this poem are not given definite identities; somewhat, common people who are going about their every day business. Their perspective shows an island in the river called Shalott. Aurora Leigh's works as compared to Tennyson or Dickens work seems not to have an inspired illustration for she provides the subject of a painting by Arthur. She criticizes medievalism and historical subjects, advances an art theory supporting contemporary British and continental arts. She uses modern subjects.
The themes intersecting in the two works deal mainly with the rights of women in the society, male domination in the society, and how the men set the rules and expectations for women. The embowered woman at the window in "The Lady of Shalott," is a theme exemplifying contrast of the interior world and exterior world of a woman's life. In Aurora Leigh, women were usually restrained to the indoors and home sphere. The speaker makes a comment on how best women know how to speak to children (Kirkpatrick, 1991).
In Tennyson's "Lady of Shalott" part one and four, it deals with how she appears to the outside world. The mysterious, beautiful, and inaccessible woman occupying a tower in the island is imprisoned within a building made of four gray walls and towers. Nobody has heard or seen her. Only the reapers of the barley hear the echo of her singing at night and whisper that he hears her: "It is the fairly Lady of Shalott." She is trapped in the highest level of the tower where she cannot even look outside the towers for fear that she causes the full power of the curse upon her be unleashed. She enjoys weaving "A magic web with colors gay" to solely concentrate so as to never lift her eyes (Kirkpatrick, 1991).
However, in part two she sees shadows of the world and the highway in the mirror that hangs before her portraying different types of people. She also sees an abbot, a page dressed in crimson, and a group of damsels. At times, she also glimpses a funeral procession that makes her express frustration to the world of shadows. In line 61, "come riding two and two," she sees Knights. In part three, this knight (Lancelot) captures the Lady's attention and has been accorded rich visual details. In the last part, she is seized with death which ends her artistic isolation and her creativity. "The mirror cracked from side to side," yet it was her only access to the outside world (Kirkpatrick, 1991).
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Browning emphasizes on the right of a woman to work as an artist hence a denial of her womanhood. The main figure is devoted entirely to her craft, thus reflects explicitly and solicitously on budding as a woman. This exhibit of insight affirms Aurora's obligation to self-actualization in breach to sharing the realizations at which she arrives with the person who reads. Aurora's situation in the end foreshadows dilemma in the modern woman for she is the most exciting and promising of the characters in the poem. The female/mother figure is associated with nature (Henry, 1997).
The lady of Shalott compares the women to others of the town who have gay suitors, but are glad. The lady of Shalott surprisingly becomes bored and breaks her routine of the task. She was convinced that destiny had already been written for her by society and thus did not get to enjoy her freedom yet she exercised self-authority. In contrast, female characters in Aurora's works are constrained by social norms and expectations. However, the women are constantly seeking and experimenting with strategies intended to outwit the constraints of those roles. All women in these poems were passive individuals who based on the dominant social norms were acted upon.
These two works have women throughout the poem and as such this has developed the theme women. The lady of Shalott is about a woman imprisoned in a tower. The woman in this case is used to symbolize the artistic and most sensitive aspects of the human condition. Here, the woman creates her own imprisonment and isolation since they are unwilling to deal with the outside world. Aurora's work displays how she was raised by her aunt after her mother and father died. She was then submitted to a conventional female education which shows why her work is basically talking about women. They complained about the gender prejudice who wanted to be judged as authors, not as women. (Henry, 1997).
These very women change the theme to that of isolation, love, apprehension of reality, and proper art province. Love or art is the moral story that says that without love the rewards of success and fame are not sufficient. Both works view women differently and give them different roles. Women genre impact the theme development strongly since without them the poems would be plain and not capturing the attention of the reader who is keen to learn what has been said concerning the women of in a contemporary society.
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