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Tennysons Merlin and Vivien The Manipulative Evil Known as one of Victorian Englands finest poets Lord Alfred Tennyson epitomized the agony and despondency of the degradation of ones character His masterpiece The Idylls of the King explicates the grand scheme of corruption of the Authurian age while simultaneously paralleling Tennysons own internal struggles A most intriguing chapter of The Idylls Merlin and Vivien portrays the manipulative Vivien identified as pure evil and hatred as her corruptive beauty leads to Merlins self-destruction The Victorian era from the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837 until her death in 1901 was an era of several unsettling social developments that forced writers more than ever before to take positions on the immediate issues animating the rest of society Thus although romantic forms of expression in poetry and prose continued to dominate English literature throughout much of the century the attention of many writers was directed sometimes passionately to such issues as the growth of English democracy the education of the masses the progress of industrial enterprise and the consequent rise of a materialistic philosophy and the plight of the newly industrialized worker In addition the unsettling of religious belief by new advances in science particularly the theory of evolution and the historical study of the Bible drew other writers away from the immemorial subjects of literature into considerations of problems of faith and truth Tennysons writing displays evidence of doubt and concern towards Englands government both present and past His distinctive style can be differentiated from many Victorian poets by diction and syntax alone Also Tennyson can be identified by his free-verse prose Ricks 89 Tennysons writing encompasses many poetic styles and includes some of the finest idyllic poetry in the language Growing up in Lincolnshire Somersby Tennyson faced a troubled childhood plagued by insufficiency and neglect The severe physical and moral degradation of his father and brothers left Tennyson a disgusted disposition with the world These
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