What is the theme of "Mariana"?

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Mariana” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson is a poem that has a theme of isolation and separation from society. The subject of the poem, Mariana, uses a third-person narrator and dramatic monologue structure to express her sadness due to her lack of connection with her society as she waits for her lover. The last lines of each stanza present her wish for death as she lacks this connection:

She wept, "I am aweary, aweary
O God, that I were dead!”

Tennyson’s melancholy tone reinforces this isolation throughout the poem as he describes the desolate landscape and hopeless woman. Her feelings of separation are highlighted by her physical setting—a house far away from society. Her house and its surrounding vegetation are described as overgrown and dreary, building her feelings of separation and sadness.

Mariana’s sadness can move beyond her own longing and speak to the reader’s emotions. As Mariana is engulfed by her grief, she cannot escape it and is pulled into a darker place. Readers of the poem may have experienced similar moments of sadness and hopelessness; however, it is up to them to decide how to deal with it. They can be like Mariana and give in to the feelings of loneliness, or they can find ways to move on and seek inclusion.

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