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It has been suggested that Tennyson never presents love as a happy and fulfilling emotion Essay

It can be argued that this statement is accurate as most of his poetry contains elements of tragedy and the characters appear to be destroyed or consumed by love instead of fulfilled and happy, as a person expects to be.

An example of this would be in Tennyson’s poem ‘The Lady of Shallot’. The female character is cursed to look out in the world through a mirror only and longs for love and a knight to call her own. However it doesn’t end up as she hopes because she was doomed from the start.

It is upon seeing and hearing the knight, the Lady stops’ weaving her web. As the mirror cracks the Lady knows that it is the arrival of her doom ‘…The curse is come upon me …” As she finds a possible love, she dies.

Another example of Tennyson’s presentation that love is an emotion that isn’t fulfilling or happy is in his poem ‘Mariana’. The female character is waiting in an abandoned, decaying house and her situation seems hopeless. It is clear in the poem that she has been deserted for such a long time waiting for a love that never came. The refrain in the poem emphasises the weary monotony that the woman feels, the furthest from being happy and fulfilled.

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The love that is expected in marriage is presented in Tennyson’s poetry with the same description of disappointment, difficulty and non fulfilment.

In ‘Godiva’ the reader is presented with a woman who is married to a Lord, but it seems this isn’t a great relationship. Godiva’s husband laughs off her concerns for the people in his town, then goes on to disrespect her and ignores what she’s saying. He would put her through the humiliation of riding naked through the town just to prove a point to him.

It is touched upon briefly in ‘Ulysses’ that the king is bored with his wife, he doesn’t find fulfilment in being with her and he feels the need to go searching looking for excitement and happiness that he doesn’t feel at home. Ulysses has a love of life with a passion, this isn’t reflected however when speaking briefly of his wife.

The complete disregard that the king has for his wife helps to contribute towards the argument that Tennyson’s presentation of love leaves a lot to be desired.

In ‘Tithonus’ he fell in love with a goddess and asked for immortality. He thought that by gaining immortality they would be able to live together forever as a happy couple. However, typical to Tennyson’s poetry it doesn’t work out that way and he finds it impossible to live with her in his current state as she appears youthful every morning reminding him of all the things he has lost ‘…How can my nature longer mix with thine …’

This poem represents the realisation to the danger that a fulfilment of love may bring. For Tithonus happiness and fulfilment was only short lived, when he got what he thought he wanted it all went wrong.

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