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Comparison of two 19th Century Poems Written in the Medieval Style In the early 19th century the industrial revolution provoked a return to medievalism by the poets and painters of the age They wrote about the medieval world as idyllic and harmonious a contrast to their own turbulent century Although these two poems arent entirely idyllic they are set in the medieval age and use many similar ideas Focus was on stories of courtly love chivalry and tragedy The two poems I will be comparing are Mariana by Alfred Lord Tennyson 1809 1892 and La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats 1795 1821 They tell of love and loss and explore the realm of unrequited love but in very different ways Tennysons Mariana was a character taken from Shakespeares Measure for Measure She is a young woman deserted by her lover and left in a lonely moated grange The Poem consists of seven 12-line stanzas the last four lines of each stanza are always the same with a slight variation in the last stanza Thus one t hird of the poem consists of a repetition of the last four lines A lament for Marianas lost love She only said My life is dreary He cometh not she said She said I am aweary aweary I would that I were dead Tennyson often uses repetition in this poem not only in order to re-enforce the feelings and emotions of Mariana as he does above but also on a smaller scale in order to make a visual image clearer and stronger He describes the glooming flats as the level waste the rounding grey forcing the reader to acknowledge that the gloomy dreary landscape echoes the dreary life that she is living In his description of Marianas surroundings Tennyson uses the exterior setting to communicate Marianas inner self - to describe her life This is a Victorian
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