The Lady of Shalott Questions and Answers
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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What happens to the Lady of Shalott when she sees Sir Lancelot in "The Lady of Shalott"?

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The Lady of Shallot had been consigned to a terrible fate through a curse. She was required to stay forever in her tower and weave all day every day, and she could not look directly out on the land of Camelot. Instead, she had to peer at a mirror that was positioned so she could see outside. However, that changes when Lancelot comes by.

Lancelot was notoriously attractive, and as his beauty passes by, the Lady of Shallot is compelled to look away from her work and gaze directly at him. This sealed her fate by activating the curse. The mirror cracked, and the Lady departed her tower, walking to the water and getting into a boat to sail off to her death.

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Part II of this narrative poem begins with the explanation of why the Lady of Shalott is forbidden from looking at anything outside her window:

No time hath she to sport and play:
A charmed web she weaves alway.
A curse is on her, if she stay
Her weaving, either night or day,
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be;
Therefore...

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