Free «“Mariana” by Lord Alfred Tennyson» Essay Sample

The poem “Mariana” features a woman, who is portrayed waiting for her best lover called Angelo throughout the whole poem. The use of pathetic fallacy and other smaller themes, like the feelings of lost hope and impacts of not acting or acting on one’s emotions, are well reflected in the poem. The major themes of the poem “Mariana” by Lord Alfred Tennyson is despair and loneliness since the heroine has lost a person that she really loved so much. Throughout the poem, Mariana is in dark mood, which engulfs her. Lord Tennyson made the poem so upsetting in order to portray Mariana who had so much love for the man that had left her. By making the poem so dark, the author expresses the extreme depression that Mariana was suffering from (Tennyson 200:100)..

Mariana is the main character in the story, who sits in her neglected building all by herself, feeling lonely and mourning all day over the loss of her lover. The iambic pentameter of the poem has a definite pattern of syllables. The long lines of the poem make it slow to recite thus making it sound both sad and depressing. Since the author wants the reader to empathize with the main character, the use of a chorus in a poem is put into use to ensure that this is achieved. The repetition of this chorus in each and every seven stanzas is used so as to place special emphasis on the mood of the main character, who is not very happy. The chorus changes slightly in the poem since it is direct speech; as a result, it makes the reader feel closer to Mariana, but the meaning of this chorus changes through the last verse of the poem, “…I am very dreary…He will not come…” This quote is a clear indicator that indeed, Mariana’s lover won’t return and this is the means of the poem-ending instead of finishing it with the scene, where the main character is crying.

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To avoid the poem being a typical ballad, the author puts to use iambic tetrameter in order to have more freedom in his writing, which enables him to put more stress on the main character’s feelings. While reading the poem, the reader can notice that everything is dead, dark and alone, and a quote is taken from the poem “Mariana” to portray how the garden is neglected rubs “…blackest moss the flower pots…were thickly crusted…” Pathetic fallacy and emotive language is sued by Alfred Lord Tennyson through writing “blackest” in the poem to help the reader understand how the main character in the poem, Mariana, is heartbroken after the demise of her lover. In the second stanza, the poem makes use of repetition when the quote “…her tears fell…” is sued in the first line of the poem’s stanza and repeated in the second one. The author indicates to the reader how Mariana shuts herself away from the society and isolates herself through crying constantly over her lover as a means of expressing grieve. The poem “Mariana” is therefore written in a linear style. A vast abundance of figurative language is used by Lord Tennyson in the poem, for instance when he asserts that “…till the cold winds woke the grey eyed morn…” A lot of imagery can be created in the reader’s mind through the use of stanza since it is used in creating an impression that the main character in the poem is unwilling and being forced to stay there.

The author’s poetic talent comprises of thematic diversity that is often hard to understand. The author therefore uses natural settings in order to describe the despair displayed by a woman, who vainly waits for her best lover. The poem “Mariana” is set in a deserted farmhouse having an ornamental pear plant and an overgrown moss. The poem is full of desolation and despair scenes when the main character wishes to die as she looks through the window and sees nothing but loneliness, despair and death. The subject of the poem “Mariana”was drawn from Shakespeare’s play known as Measure for Measure and from the line“…Mariana in the moated grange…” Shakespeare discusses how a young woman waits for Angelo, her lover, who has finally deserted her. Shakespeare’s poem is similar to Tennyson’s “Mariana” because it also has a visual display of gloom and isolation (Shakespeare 1998:120).

Despite that fact that “Mariana” is indeed a static poem, which involves no action, it gradually starts being more and more intense when its stanzas progress and the main character becomes more and more confused and desperate. To serve as an invocation, which immensely contributes to the fascinating atmosphere of the poem, the author uses refrain and the deserted farm house actually seems to be cast under a curse or a spell. All in all, Mariana’s mental and psychological status is well-reflected through the author’s description of a natural world. Tennyson well attributes the main character’s psychological and emotional biases towards nature through the application of pathetic fallacy. The old woman seems to be abandoned and depressed just like the surrounding environment and thus decided to place her major focus on the dark side of events. The reader’s mind is hit by a strong impact through Tennyson’s creation of a greater emotional force.

The “Mariana’s”rhyme scheme of cddcababefef is quite different from the ordinary ballad rhyme because it serves to contain this literary work and then allows it to freely express itself. For effect purposes, Tennyson’s “Mariana”traditionally relies on the use or application of visual imagery through emphasizing auditory imagery, which serves to emphasize the main character’s solitude. Mariana, the main character in the poem, finds herself feeling lonely and finally loses hope because does not know how to act. The poem is full of many emotions but the overall feeling is very depressing as well as negative. The realization by Mariana that the lover will not come back reduces the feelings of hope that she initially felt and thus such feelings are replaced by negative emotions. The feelings of sadness, despair and depression are expressed when Mariana asks God to do away with her life. The use of refrain by Tennyson is well used in the poem making the reader easily relate the main actor’s “depression” and “boredom” through reading the same lines after the end of each and every line thus feel Mariana’s feelings. 

Readers of “Mariana”could easily see and feel the message behind the poem and see Mariana as an individual, who is overly emotional and dramatized because of waiting for a man who, as we can see from the poem, never loved her, but was only interested in her family’s fortune. The use of various poetic techniques like refrain and personification makes readers form various perceptions regarding the poem. Some form of phallic symbol is provided through the poplar tree that is described in the fifth and fourth stanza of the poem. 

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“Mariana”is a haunting journey in the mind of a disturbed woman, who longs for the return of her husband. The lyrical narrative presents understanding and credibility to any individual who endures and experiences anxiety, depression and loneliness arising from the loss of a loved one, who cannot or will not return. The poem is written in a third person narrative to help the reader better understand the isolation and suffering that Mariana undergoes in a deeper context. Tennyson portrays great poetic talent by covering different thematic diversity that is hard to comprehend. Descriptions of the natural world are used by Tennyson in “Mariana”by using a natural setting in description of the desperation that the woman undergoes as she waits for her lover vainly. Literary devices amplify the depths of the scorned woman’s despair in the story. Mariana is seen as a woman who is trapped in a world full of isolation and perpetual abandonment. The white walls, which should be seen to be brightening the woman’s mood, instead happen to become dark shadows to her.

The negativity of Mariana’s world is reinforced by her surroundings, which appear to be grey and empty thus blending her innermost world. The poem’s author presents it through a vague enchantment, but any individual reading the story and having the experience of agony arisng from unrequited love can easily visualize it and relate the emotional state that Marina undergoes. In order to describe the woman’s state of mind, the author of the poem uses descriptions from the natural world by using Keatsian descriptions. Tennyson clearly portrays that he is not only a poet of the psychological and natural landscape but also frequently attends to past historical events

Poem 2: “In Memoriam” by Lord Alfred Tennyson

In Alfred Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam, the theme of Wild unrest and calm despair are clearly reflected in the poem. Throughout the poem, the author (Tennyson) characteristically employs the imagery and use of natural elements so as to portray his emotions and feelings following the death of his close friend. The most poignant of the images is perhaps the wind which is reflected or represented in various ways in the whole poem and closely linked to the concept of wild unrest and calm despair.  The wind in Tennyson’s literary work is normally associated with the notion of changeability thus effectively symbolizing the author’s transformation from despair and grief towards greater spirituality and cheerful mindedness. This is well reflected in Stanza 107:19. A recurring and highly important role is played by the motive in the whole poem and due to its continuous use, Tennyson as the author of this poem is capable of unifying the poem and thus bringing each individual section in this poem together as one. In stanza 11, the image of the wind is introduced and the even the lack of it is highlighted. This is done through the author’s highlights of extensive repetition and the landscape’s calm in order to convey his own personal grief of his best friend Hallam. For instance “…Calm is the morn without a sound…The chestnut pattering to the ground…”the passing of time in the poem is symbolized through Autumnal imagery like for instance the use of the chestnut, faded leaf and “… the leaves that redden to the fall…” to symbolize how time passes, the end of human life and finally the movement of death. 

The mood of the poem is however altered by stanza fifteen and the change in scenes leads to the introduction of more violent images or pictures of nature. From the poem, it is clear that indeed the emotions of the author appear to turn along with the nature when Tennyson starts speaking about “…The wild unrest that lives in woe… (15). Tennyson, in stanza 16 draws deliberately on the comparison of the two terms when he asserts that can wild unrest/clam despair become the tenants of one breast?  The complete lack of restraint is portrayed by Tennyson despite the fact that the exceptional poetic control in the section is well achieved.

In almost all of Tennyson’s works, the author normally attempts various and unique comic means only to come back to irony. The wind is a force that is outside the author and thus it is outside his control and it seems to stand for the author’s emotion and grief that he is incapable to refrain. The form and structure of the poem in the same way, unlike most of the elegies which are known to offer a singular reaction towards death like for instance despair and spirituality and then eventually result to some sort of consolation in one of the major sections, a calm despair is only seen as being temporary since the same has been contradicted with doubt’s revival in the next.  

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There is constant use of iambic tetrameter quatrains which are seen through the rhyming scheme of ABBA, a form that has become to be known as the “In Memoriam Stanza. The use of such literary styles also implies that there is lack of control and the constant conflict between the wild unrest and the clam despair in the mind, poem and emotions of the author himself. So far throughout the poem, the author makes use of the winds imagery so as to convey or communicate his own emotions which are changeable, doubt, calm spirituality and wild anxiety. Wind is also referred to as the wind which is known to move a ship carrying the body of Hallams.

“In Memoriam” by Lord Alfred Tennyson is a lyric poem that focuses on the poet’s response towards the author’s persona’s doubt, grief and a search for faith. As such, the poem depicts deep emotions and feelings of the poet because of losing a dear friend instead of presenting the readers with a witty observation or telling of a story. The final version of the poem has 133 poetic fragments. Lord Tennyson, the author of the abovementioned poem, was known to have lost his best friend Henry Hallam who died suddenly at the age of 22 in the year 1833, whose poetry and personality were deeply based on the nature of his love. Most of the poems sections were actually published 3 years after Hallam’s death when the author was suffering from acute grief. In poetic work, the author has emphasised some creative expression of a person and the need for finding and formulating new ways of expression.

The poem “In memoriam” is a literary work that was written in the year 1850 through a death event of his beloved friend that led to the writing of the poem when the author received considerable fame in the field of poetry. Even though the one hundred and thirty three sections that are prevalent n the poem have various stages of faith, doubt and consolation, the poem is unified by an abba stanza form. In memoriam being a typical poem  is known to incorporate the aspects and ideas, which are essential in poetry works. The major theme of this poem is that the author mourns the death of his dear friend.

The plot of the poem is extremely simple and even the poet wanted to name the poem as “Fragments of an Elegy” but the real title was a suggestion by the future wife of Tennyson known as Emily Sellwood. The key of this poem can therefore be termed to be sad and even the author; Tennyson claimed that this literary work was the voice of the entire human race and not his own voice.  In Memoriam is one of the genuinely popular literary works or poems that have remained and it is through it that the reader can be capable of gaining an image of the poem’s author as being an individual who is cheered and sustained by the various literary works. In addition, the form and style of the poem preclude a conclusive identification of just but a few characters. It is also through the story that readers can genuinely establish that Tennyson is emotionally disturbed indeed because of the death of his beloved friend.

In the context of the poem, nature genuinely refers to grief and it is this term that predominates in the whole poem. In proclaiming the poem’s author as a nature poet, readers can easily assume Tennyson is just no more than a spokesman for the values in the rural places and the National Trust which is a society formed in the late 19th century to preserve the best English landscape. Among the founders of the society admirers of Tennyson’s poetry are included. In other words, it is therefore easy to forget that in the author’s day; ‘grief’ was a word, which was employed continuously in profound philosophical, theological and political debates. Grief in the poem could therefore be seen as a harmonious or brutal system, which reflects the creator’s perfect order and the world of the human heart and not the head as a realm of affections and intuitions that counterbalanced strict dictates of reasons. 

Given the fact that death is seen as being inevitable in the poem by Tennyson, which first appear to bring sadness and grief to many individuals, the use of the words in the poem has a special structure and meaning, in which different literary techniques like imagery, figurative language and personification are successfully used in expressing the author’s feelings and sadness as a result of the death of his friend. An image of a cloud is encountered in the poem’s first stanza when it implies that indeed, death has robbed the author of a good friend. A metaphor for himself is created in the image of the cloud and describes something, which is considered to be peaceful. Both the poem’s author and the cloud are worldly aspects, which are subject to laws of nature but regardless of this, they can also be able to retain their freedom. The first line creates an instant mood of nature and the use of nature in the poem creates a very peaceful and joyful setting. The tranquillity and imagery of death that is established is achieved through various similes, metaphors and descriptive language that author uses in the poem (Dumas 1974:50).

The poet, in description of the grief only mentions one colour, despite the fact that the whole poem is an implicit suggestion of an abundance of colours ranging from green. The issue of death in the poem is vital because it is personified by the author to dancers and is compared to stars, which reflect the consistency and beauty of nature in line 6, 7 and 8. The use of simile is well used in line 1 and 2 of the second stanza, which creates the wind-blowing image, which moves the human beings making them appear to momentarily glint when their faces come into contact with the death. In order to make a description of a meditative state, in which the universe’s forces and the readers’ connection with the movement that is ceaseless can be achieved, line one and two of the last stanza are used.

Images of grief in “the poem, which includes a field full of grief, has human qualities in the literary work and it is these natural images that express the author’s self reflection. Natural images can be seen in various parts of the poem like the clouds (in line one of the poem), the lake (in line 5), the hills (in line 20, the stars (in line 7), the trees (in line 5) and the breeze (in line 6). The breeze, the stars and the lake are associated with contented solitude and self-joy and the term ‘dance’, which is used in each and every stanza of the poem as a cosmic creative energy, which transforms the space in the setting into time and becomes the rhythm of the universe. A perfect structure of versification is created in the poem (Cohen, et al 1987:60). 

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