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How has Tennyson portrayed the images of death in this poem "Maud:a monodrama"? this...

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ansg | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 23, 2010 at 3:41 PM via web

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How has Tennyson portrayed the images of death in this poem "Maud:a monodrama"?

this question is based on an extract lines 239 - 258 "dead long dead ...............Is enough to drive one mad" give your answer based within the lines mentioned from the poem "Maud:a monodrama"

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this is the extract that I refer to

"Dead, long dead,
Long dead!
And my heart is a handful of dust,
And the wheels go over my head,
And my bones are shaken with pain,
For into a shallow grave they are thrust,
Only a yard beneath the street,
And the hoofs of the horses beat, beat,
The hoofs of the horses beat,
Beat into my scalp and my brain,
With never an end to the stream of passing feet,
Driving, hurrying, marrying, burying,
Clamour and rumble, and ringing and clatter,
And here beneath it is all as bad,
For I thought the dead had peace, but it is not so;
To have no peace in the grave, is that not sad?
But up and down and to and fro,
Ever about me the dead men go;
And then to hear a dead man chatter
Is enough to drive one mad
."

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 24, 2010 at 1:04 AM (Answer #1)

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Tennyson himself referred to "Maud" as a little Hamlet, the history of a morbid pathetic soul, under the influence of a recklessly speculative age."  Here, in this section, the poet writes of his looming death wish and specter of insanity after the death of his love, Maud.  His death wish is shaded by the conflict between the landed gentry and the merchant class.  Tennyson suggests the false values of Victorian England's industrial system with the callous "clamor and rumble and ringing and clatter" over the dead man's body.

In these verses, Tennyson writes of the insignificance of the individual; his grave is hollow and he is buried beneath the street where the living trample insensitively over him:  "Ever about me the dead men go." The merchant class are dead for, like Dickens's Scrooge, they are merely concerned with business; the speaker is dead because he has lost his love, Maud, and with this loss, all meaning in his life.  Like Hamlet, the speaker perceives a corrupt society and is greatly disturbed by life's lack of existential meaning. 

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