Explain why lines 66–72 could foreshadow Lancelot’s arrival and the Lady’s actions in the second half of "The Lady of Shalott."

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Susan Woodward eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Lady of Shalott is cursed to weave whatever she sees in her mirror for she can only live through images.  If she were to attempt to live in the real world, she would die.  Although lines 64/65 indicate that "in her web she still delights/To weave the mirror's magic sights", she is not throroughly content to live a solitary life.  She sees a funeral procession "with plumes and lights/And music" move toward Camelot.  Even though a funeral is a sad occassion, she will never take part in that ritual which is part of normal civilization when she dies if she stays within her castle walls.  That's one of the reasons she is "half sick of Shadows".   The sight of "two young lovers lately wed" reminds her that she will never experience that state of bliss while in her tower.  The discontent is magnified at the sight of Lancelot, and the plumes of the funeral relate to the plumes of Lancelot's helmet.  She longs to be with him, yet she will not end up like the "two young lovers", but like the person in the funeral procession.  However, since she is "half sick" of living under a curse where Lancelot will never know of her love, she decides to leave the castle.  Even though doing so will lead to her death, she feels it would be better to die among the living than of old age alone. She writes he name "around the prow" so that Lancelot will know her name. 

 

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The Lady of Shalott

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