How does Tennyson portray images of life in the poem "Maud: A Monodrama"?This question is based on passage XXVII Lines 239 - 258 encompassing "Dead, long dead...Is enough to drive one mad." Use...

How does Tennyson portray images of life in the poem "Maud: A Monodrama"?

This question is based on passage XXVII Lines 239 - 258 encompassing "Dead, long dead...Is enough to drive one mad."

Use quotes, please.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In passage XXVII of Tennyson's Maude: A Monodrama beginning with the verse "Dead, long dead" and ending with the verse "Is enough to drive mad" Tennyson presents images of life with a bitter tone of a plaintive wail in descriptions motion, action and sound that ends with an ironic symbolic twist. First Tennyson conjures an image of the rhythmic noise of horses' hoofs that "beat, beat," driving their way into the speaker's "scalp and brain."

Tennyson then paints an image humans' feet in a constant "stream" of ever "passing" humanity. The first association in the image is with motion and action as the "passing feet" are "Driving, hurrying, marrying, burying." The actions also evoke stages of life from youthful beginnings of life to beyond the last breath of life. Tennyson's final image of life is one of seeming purposeless though directed motion: "up and down and to and fro."

The comes the ironic symbolic twist at the end. Suddenly these noisy, busy, aging, seemingly purposeless, motion-lovers are "dead men" on the go...dead because of the purposelessness of even in the most purposeful of activities, marriage? And it is the "chatter" of these "dead men" that really drives the speaker "mad" because the sound of meaninglessness from human voices is the profoundly purposeless.