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Please explain the following lines from "The Lady of Shallot."To weave the mirror's...

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iqqu | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted September 8, 2011 at 1:23 AM via web

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Please explain the following lines from "The Lady of Shallot."

To weave the mirror's magic sights, 65

For often thro' the silent nights

A funeral, with plumes and lights,

And music, went to Camelot:

Or when the moon was overhead,

Came two young lovers lately wed; 70

'I am half sick of shadows,' said

The Lady of Shalott.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 8, 2011 at 8:58 PM (Answer #1)

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What is key to focus on in these lines, that come from the final stanza of Part II, is the way that Tennyson creates a contrast between the vibrancy of life in Camelot and the vague, shadowy existence that the Lady of Shalott is forced to live, who is divorced from such realities and only able to participate in them as a spectator through her mirror. Thus it is that we are presented with the formality of a funeral on the one hand, and then the joy of two lovers who have recently been wedded on the other. In response to these sights, the Lady of Shalott very significantly says "I am half sick of shadows," which could be argued to foreshadow her choice to break the curse and leave her protected island, participating in the world that she has only been a spectator of up until this point. It is also perhaps extremely significant that the Lady of Shalott utters this line after seeing the lovers together. This could perhaps indicate her own desire for a relationship, which is of course kindled by the sight of Sir Lancelot.

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