Romanticism: Gender Representation

From the egocentric tendencies of young children to the anthropocentric beliefs of early scientists, believing the world revolved around us, humans have always had a tendency to centre events and their world around themselves. The gender roles in the romantic period is just another version of this; male-centric belief dominated: the earth and all of that included was created to serve them - including women. as a result of this belief, history’s underlying battle of the sexes was highlighted in the Victorian era through Romantic literature. The Romantic period is a era of literature born to defy the rules of neoclassicism and rational thinking. During this era, nature, imagination and emotion reign supreme. The romantic values, attitudes and beliefs concerning gender carry a theme of beauty, chastity and passive characteristics illustrating the ideal Victorian woman. The poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson and John Keats allow us to draw these conclusion through their representations of the conventional ‘knight and damsel’.
The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson explores a world of temptation. The Lady of Shallot is locked away in a tower at the mercy of a curse, forbidding her to look outside, so instead, she watches the world go by in a tiny mirror. The Lady of Shalott spends her days weaving and in the comfort and beauty of nature, until one day, she witnesses Lancelot, a celestial being devouring Lady of Shalott just at the sound of his voice. Finally she succumbed to temptation and look directly out the window, so in love, she realizes this love will never be returned and leaves her tower (unleashing the curse) and finds a boat, she lays down in it, and dies. 
La Belle Dame sans Merci by John Keats delves into the realm of fantasy as we encounter a knight at arms, alone and dying on a hill side. The knight cries of how he has been seduced by a creature unknown to this world but disguised as a perfect woman with wild eyes, after meeting, she takes him back to her...