What are some literary devices used in the poem The Lady of Shalott?

Expert Answers
droxonian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Lady of Shalott" uses aaabaaab rhyme to establish its dreamlike rhythm and structure, with the final word of each stanza almost always being "Shalott" (on one occasion, the word is "Lancelot"). This repetition alludes to the Matter of Britain tradition from which Tennyson draws his inspiration, a refrain of the sort frequently found in oral-tradition stories and folk tales.

There are many figurative and metaphorical devices within the poem. In the first stanza, we see an example of pathetic fallacy, where nature is described behaving in a way that supports the activity of the story: here, nature is personified and seemingly protecting Shalott, with the "long fields" there to "clothe the wold and meet the sky," and the waterlily and daffodil encircling Shalott. We see this later, where "the little isle is all in'railed." Like the Lady herself, Shalott is encircled, arguably either protected or isolated.

Repetition enforces the Lady's situation: we see the word "weaving" stated over and over to emphasize that this is her only task and consumes her every waking hour. By contrast, Sir Lancelot is compared figuratively to light and stars, signifying his difference from all others; Lancelot's horse's bridle "glitter'd . . . like to some branch of stars we see."

janeyb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are four stanzas in Parts I and II, five stanzas in Part III, and six in Part IV. The stanzas all contain the same basic structure: there are nine lines, with a rhyme scheme of aaaabcccb. This strong emphasis on rhymes helps to give the poem the feeling of an ancient tale.

chakoolet | Student

This is the "1833 version"

In the poem, it used a lot of poetic/literacy techniques. Such as : Personification - "beard barley" (part 1, stanza 4, line 2) the barley doesn't have a beard but it has sort of long wheat-looking  type that looks like a beard.

Pathetic Fallacy - "In the stormy east-wind straining" (Part 4, stanza 1, line 1) *Pathetic Fallacy is when the human feelings/emotions are the same as the weather, art etc 

Similie - "Like to some branch of stars we see" (Part 3, stanza 2, line 2) Basically the bridle of the horse was sparkling, like the starry skies.
* A similie is when you compare one thing with another, oftenly use the word "like" or "as"

There's more personification - "And the silent isle imbowers" (Part 1 , stanza 2, line 8)

I think there's also a assonance (I'm not sure though) - Whillows whiten, aspens "quiver" (Part 1, stanza 2, line 1) and Little breezes dusk and "shiver" (Part 1, stanza 2 line 2) "Quiver" and "Shiver" are the assonance that are use.

And if you notice there's a rhyme scheme which is "aaaabcccb"

srishtidc | Student

extensive use of alliteration in the poem....

imoldgregg | Student

He uses repitition of the last words in each stanza. He uses rhyme extensively and also uses alliteration :) . Sources : Pinno

Read the study guide:
The Lady of Shalott

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question