Lady of Shallot

The Lady of Shallot seeks to break away from the suppression of her sexuality represented by the curse, and is stopped by death. Her leaving the tower might also be of sheer boredom which was a problem faced by many women of the time since servants did most of the work for women, yet the were still expected to stay in the confines of the home so that they could “The Lady of Shalott” is a poem that embodies both traditional and radical thoughts; this contrast results in a median between the two ideas, which is the “woman question”. The well known traditional role of woman, as maid and wife are conflicting with the radical rebellion of many women of the time; a new role for women is the result. We also see an increase of isolation and nostalgia as a result of the loss of the connection between man and Nature, which is reflected quite literally in “The Lady of Shallot”. Then we have questions that arise about sexuality, and the popular views of sex in the Victorian period is that it is a threat to social order. There are both traditional and radical thoughts represented in “The Lady of Shalott”. These thoughts come together and form a middle ground that many Victorians found themselves standing on. This mediation is the sole basis of the “Woman Question”

In “The Lady of Shalott” there are times where traditional womanly characteristics are present, and at the same time we see very liberal ideas expressed. Remember that the middle class woman’s role is the one going through this transformation, and the primary focus of this “Woman Question”. As a result of this new role we see a clash between traditional and radical thought, along with feelings of isolation, and questions of sexuality. The “traditional” roles of the woman as a wife and mother became increasingly more popular through the Victorian period, predominately in the middle class.
Tennyson gives the responder an insight to why the Lady of Shalott felt the need to escape her personal prison; she could not...