The Lady Of Shalot Essay, Research Paper
In his poem, ?The Lady of Shalott,? Alfred, Lord Tennyson uses psychoanalytical representation to display the mental failings of the main character, the Lady of Shalott. Tennyson displays to the reader a young woman in her twenties who is so mentally eccentric that she becomes a recluse and shuts herself off from reality. It is due to a psychoanalytical deficiency that she does this. Alfred, Lord Tennyson develops alternate realities for the Lady of Shalott so as to better display her psychoanalytical deficiency. As the Lady of Shalott sits in her room, she looks through a mirror, which is her only contact with the outside world. The fact that the image through the mirror is the only representation she has of reality poses the question as to whether it is her mental vanity which keeps her there. This is noticeable in the statement, ?And moving through a mirror clear/That hangs before her all the year.? (ll.46-47). Since the poem tells the reader that the Lady of Shalott spends all the year in front of that mirror, it is easy to assume then that it is her lack of mental capability and her fear of the outside world which she uses to cut herself off from reality. Also, when a misfortune occurs to her beloved mirror, she believes it to be a curse which modern psychoanalytical research tells the reader does not exist.
Another delusion that the Lady of Shalott faces is the events that occur when her mirror cracks. This is noticeable from the Tennyson remark, ?The mirror cracked from side to side;/?The curse is come upon me,? cried/The Lady of Shalott.? (ll.115-117). When her mirror cracks, instead of thinking that it is merely an everyday occurrence, her delusional mind tells her that it is a curse. This belief is known to be associated with a form of psychoanalytical mental comprehension deficiency. From this, the reader can notice the inability to adapt to society. Also, the life that she leads once she is away from the mirror is drastically unhealthy.
Once her mirror is broke, the Lady of Shalott heads toward Camelot where she eventually believes to overhear Lancelot says and only hears what she wants to. The statement that Lancelot says is, ?She has a lovely face;/God in his mercy lend her grace,/The Lady of Shalott.? (ll.169-171). Most psychoanalysts would agree that she didn?t really hear this at all, but merely heard what she wanted to hear. This principle accompanies the possibility of her exile in the mirror being due to vanity. As the vanity shows, regardless of what reality consists of, to the Lady of Shalott, all that matters is her beauty and supernatural elements.
As the poem progresses, the reader is introduced to a mentally distraught female whom has serious mental issues, which she must deal with. The main problem here is that the Lady of Shalott refuses to handle these issues and merely shuts herself form society until she sees the chance to have her beauty noticed. As she believes this, she falls deeper into the psychoanalytical trap and makes no mental improvement as the poem progresses. If the Lady of Shalott really existed today, she would most likely be in Bellevue receiving ?special? medical care. Regardless, it is the Lady of Shalott?s mental condition which dictates the poem and proves her to be psychoanalytically inept to adapt to society.