Spring 4-26-2016

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Rochelle, Warren

Second Advisor

Richards, Gary

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major or Concentration


Department or Program

English, Linguistics, and Communication


Alfred, Lord Tennyson began writing "The Lady of Shalott" in a time of tremendous social and political change for England. Ten years after it was written, in 1842, a new, heavily-revised version of the poem was published. The Lady's agency (or lack of it) within the two versions of the poem fluctuates; in parts of the 1842 poem, she gains more control over herself, only to lose some of the agency she possessed in the 1832 poem. This paper shows that even after his major editing, Tennyson's depiction of the Lady, while exhibiting some signs of power, perpetuates the lack of agency she possessed in the original poem; this idea is exhibited in the elements that Tennyson added to the original myth (the curse, the images of the mirror and the loom, the change in the Lady's family, and the Lady's use of song), as well as the figure of Lancelot.