What are some literary devices found in Alfred, Lord Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott, Part One?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott," there are a number of literary devices used in this beautiful and sad poem.

In the first stanza, barley and rye are personified as clothing the "ground" or "hills" (wold) as Tennyson states...

...they clothe the wold and meet the sky...

End rhyme is used in the poem. Rhyme is seen most commonly when the vowel sound in a group of words is the same. The lines may "rest" next to each other or occur every other line. There are many variations of end rhyme. A letter is assigned for each sound. For the first line-ending words that rhyme in a poem, like "snow" and "go," each would be assigned an "A." If the next rhyme used words like "first" and "thirst," their sound would be assigned a "B." (Each sound is given a new "letter.) The rhyme scheme for the first two stanzas, for instance, is:

A  A  A  A  B  C  C  C  B

In this case, the last word of the first four lines rhymes with each other: lie, rye, sky, by. The long "i" sound is assigned an "A." The sound changes with the world "Camelot," so it is labeled with a "B;" and when the following line begins a new rhyming pattern with go, blow, below, these sounds are assigned a "C."

Alliteration is generally the repetition of a consonant sound at the beginning of a group of words. The sound must be the same, though the letter doesn't need to be. ("Ph" and "F" use different letters, but they sound the same.) Line 4 gives an example of alliteration with:

...road run...

The "R" sound is repeated, creating the musical quality of alliteration. We see it again at the start of the second stanza:

Willows whiten...

Here is the repeated sound of the "W."

Repetition (used for effect) is found in line 15:

Four grey walls, and four grey towers...

It is also seen throughout the poem occurring in the middle of the stanzas with the repetition of the word "Camelot."

In line 28, we recognize the use of assonance, which is the repetition of the same vowel sound occurring in a group of words:

...reaper weary...

In this example, the "ea" creates a vowel blend with the long "E" sound.

Consonance is found in line 29, and is a similar literary device that uses repetition, but in this case the sound repeated is made up of consonants—still repeating the same sound:

...bearded barley

In this case, the "R" sound in "bearded" and "barley" is repeated.

Finally, we may see a metaphor in the last line of Part One:

...Tis the fairy

Lady of Shalott.

A metaphor compares two dissimilar things that share similar characteristics—but unlike the "simile," a "metaphor" does not use the words "like" or "as" in the comparison. The Lady of Shalott is not a fairy, though she may seem supernatural (something beyond the natural world)—like the fairy—in that she sings and weaves, never coming out of her house, much the way a fairy (if one is to believe in them) does not come out of hiding for people to see, either.