Poetry and Stanza Shows Mariana Essay

Mariana’ is based on a fictional character. Written in 1830 this poem portrays the feelings, thoughts and actions of the lonely ‘Mariana’. Like the other poems, Tennyson uses pathetic fallacy to show her mood thought the poem. As the poem is written in 3rd person narrative it makes the reader feel even more sympathetic toward ‘Mariana’. Written in the omniscient viewpoint it also gives the feeling of sadness and isolation. The rythem of the poem is worth considering as it takes the form of 7 12-line stanzas, each divided into 3 4-line rhyme units ABAB CDDC EFEF this gives the reader the impression that it is ordinary speech and

The Pathetic fallacy is used in the first stanza as ‘Mariana’ is said to be living in a ‘Moated grange’. This gives the impression of self-inflicted isolation. However this could also be interpreted as her tears filling up this moat and cutting her off from normality. There are also many references to evil as Tennyson uses alliteration when using the words ‘sad and strange’, these words sound like hissing sounds, this could be seen as the devil and may be seen as sinister. By describing the shed as ‘broken’ Tennyson symbolises ‘Mariana’ as a broken woman.

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The word ‘dreary’ is used which gives the impression of a dull uninteresting scene. Repetition of the word ‘aweary’ gives the reader a sense of tiredness as she wishes that she wasn’t weary. The final line of then first stanza is a shocking admission and frighten the reader as ‘Mariana’ says that she ‘would that I were dead! ’ The explanation mark sums up the importance of this line, as it is a clear reference to suicide. In the second stanza Pathos is used to evoke pity and sorrow toward ‘Mariana’. There are again references to self-imposed isolation as ‘she drew her casement-curtain’.

Tennyson also shows the reader that she is still crying as ‘the dews were dried’. The reader also notices that ‘Mariana’ may be scared of the day, as this may be the reason for drawing her ‘casement curtain’. In the distance Tennyson depicts the horizon as he says ‘ the glooming flats’, this gives the reader a sense of distance and shows how far away she is from reality. The last four lines of the stanza’s are repeated however there is a slight change from the first stanza as the word life is changed for night. Darkness symbolises despair and sadness.

The Third stanza uses personification to portray Mariana’s feelings ‘ till cold winds woke the grey eyed morn’; this shows that wind is made to seem to have the intent. By using the words ‘grey eyed’ it shows the reader that ‘Mariana’ has had restless nights and as the ‘cold winds’ wake the morn it again points out her isolation. The winds are shown to have intent. Tennyson also shows the restlessness of The winds are shown to have intent as he says ‘In sleep she seem’d to walk forlorn’, this again shows her lack of sleep and may be a reference to sleep walking as sleepwalking has connotations of unease and tension.

By using the words ‘moated grange’ again it further emphasises the isolation that ‘Mariana’ is feeling. Thought the poem Tennyson focuses on isolation and how this affects mental stability. The use of personification in the third stanza shows Mariana’s increased insanity ‘blacken’d waters slept’. The first use of the poplar tree is seen in stanza 4 as ‘a hard poplar shook’ this tree symbolises her one hope, her ex-fiancee. As Tennyson describes the scene; ‘No other tree did mark the land’ this tree is taunting her and reinforces the isolation and loneliness of ‘Mariana’.

In the Fifth stanza Tennyson again writes about the poplar tree using it as a Phallic Symbol. In this poem the poplar tree stands for love and fertility (everything that Mariana misses). The shadows are shown to taunt ‘Mariana’ as the ‘moon was low’. Mariana is also shown to be haunted by shadows as ‘the shadow of the poplar fell’. The shadow of the poplar had previously been used to symbolise her lover and as the ‘poplar fell upon her bed’ it may show the reader that she still misses the sexual element of her relationship.

The sixth stanza is based on the obsession as ‘Mariana’ is shown to be increasing in insanity. The house is described as ‘dreamy’, this shows that her life is becoming surreal and she does not now what to believe. As the hinges ‘creak’d’ it may be hinting toward the lack of use that the door is getting because of the lack of visitors or it may be referring to ghosts that are haunting not just her house but her mind. However Mariana shows that she misses society as she misses the ‘old faces’ although this could be interpreted as another reference to ghosts taunting her and playing with her mind.

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