What is a summary of parts 3 and 4 of "The Lady of Shalott"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In part III of "The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred Lord Tennyson, the lady sees the knight, Sir Lancelot, from her window. Tennyson uses imagery to describe the colors of the sunlight reflecting off his sheild and other beautiful images of Lancelot riding toward Camelot. This sight is so breathtaking that it moves the lady to leave the room in persuit of the knight, thus setting off the curse that she knows will ultimately kill her. As she leaves, the mirror cracks, foreshadowing her demise. 

In part IV, the lady continues following after Lancelot, toward Camelot, in a trancelike state. She is slowly dying. She floats in a boat down the river, but she dies alone before she arrives, the hills being the only one to hear her sing her final song. The last stanza is the saddest, as she finally arrives and people crowd around to see who this deseased woman is, wondering why she floated down the river. Ironically, Lancelot himself arrives and comments that "she has a lovely face," indicating that if she had made the journey alive, he might have loved her. This last line makes the poem all the more tragic. 



Approved by eNotes Editorial Team