What is the mood of this poem?  Give 3 specific answers that support your opinion.

Expert Answers
pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The lyrical poem, The Lady of Shallot's mood is created by the descriptive style that Tennyson employs in the early parts of the poem.  We learn of the landscape in great detail, until he tells us of the lady locked in the tower.

"On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road run by" (Tennyson)

"Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river" (Tennyson)

There is a wonder and awe that is created in the poet's description of the landscape.  The beauty of the land is contrasted to the isolation of the lady in the tower. 

She cannot enjoy this beauty, she is cursed to remain alone and cannot even look upon the world.  She sees the world through a mirror.

"And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot;" (Tennyson)

When you understand what her life is like, the mood of the poem turns somber.  Then the mood turns happy, she is content in the tower, weaving the images she sees in the mirror.

"But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights" (Tennyson)

Then the mood turns again, she falls in love with Lancelot, which makes her determined to leave the tower.

reidalot eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At first, the mood of the poem is pensive (thoughtful). The Lady in her tower is only allowed to gaze upon the world through a mirror, and she is isolated. The mood then shifts to one of love or infatuation. As she looks upon Lancelot, she falls in love and literally shatters her reality. Lastly, the mood shifts once more, perhaps, to one of self-awareness as the Lady leaves the tower to float to Camelot which will signal her death. However, all is not melancholy (sad); when the Lady chooses to take her chance upon the water, she, ironically, has taken her life (or death) into her own hands and is finally deciding upon her own course of action!

nimbus2mil | Student

No where in the poem does it hint that she falls madly in love with Sir Lancelot. The mood is a mixture of both sadness and grief.

-lonely in isolation (part 1 stanza 4, lines 1 and 3)

-lack of freedom (part 3, creates larger emphasis through big contrast)

-trapped with no escape fromt he curse as she rebells against the webs of society (last stanza of part 3)

-result? she dies inside because of the curse (stanza 4 part 4)

Read the study guide:
The Lady of Shalott

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