21 pages 42 minutes read

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Lady Of Shalott

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1842

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Literary Devices

Form and Meter

"The Lady of Shalott” consists of 20 stanzas total, divided into four parts. Each stanza has nine lines, many of which contain eight syllables, though some contain five or seven. All lines but the final line of each stanza, containing the word “Shalott,” are composed in tetrameter, meaning that they contain four metrical feet. The refrain is trimetric, containing three feet instead of four. The stressed rhythm of the poem’s meter switches between iambic and trochaic. An iambic foot is made up of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable, while a trochaic foot is the reverse: a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable. Tennyson occasionally adds syllables to facilitate the shift in rhythm, demanding attention from the reader and momentarily interrupting the poem’s musical flow. Tennyson rarely uses enjambment, and almost all phrases are contained within a single line.

The poem’s division of stanzas and parts allows for a clear breakdown of the story, wherein each part contains a distinct section of the plot. Part 3, for instance, details the arrival of Sir Lancelot and ends with the Lady of Shalott’s climactic decision, and Part 4 covers her boat ride to

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