How do meter and point of view contribute to the author's meaning in "Mariana" by Alfred Lord Tennyson?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, 'Mariana in the Moated Grange' is based on a character in William Shakespeare's play, Measure for Measure, who has been deserted by her lover. The poem is written in an interesting stanzaic form. Each stanza consists of three quatrains. The first is an iambic tetrameter quatrain rhymed abab, the second iambic tetrameter rhymed cddc and the final refrain quatrain is alternating iambic tetrameter and trimeter rhymed efef. Thus the first two quatrains are more formal and the final refrain one resembles the refrain of a ballad.

Although the poem is written in the grammatical third person, the point of view is exclusively that of Mariana, and the increasingly odd descriptions of the scenery reflect not pure external reality but her mood. The putative objectivity of the narrative voice contributes to the eeriness of the distortions of reality one finds in the poem.


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