What is the curse on the Lady of Shalott?

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julierunacres eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The details of the curse are not disclosed in the poem, although sometimes the assumption is made that she's been cursed by a rival. As a result of the curse, the Lady is allowed to see the outside world only as a reflection in a mirror. One day she catches sight of the handsome knight Lancelot and cannot resist looking at him directly, thus bringing the curse upon herself. Her punishment is to drift in a boat down to Camelot 'singing her last song'; she dies before reaching her destination.

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The Lady of Shalott

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