Tennyson As A Victorian Essay Research Paper

Tennyson As A Victorian Essay, Research Paper Tennyson as a Victorian The Victorian age was an age where many changes occurred socially, economically, and industrially. People began to explore

Tennyson As A Victorian Essay, Research Paper

Tennyson as a Victorian

The Victorian age was an age where many changes occurred

socially, economically, and industrially. People began to explore

into areas such as the earth, the human body, and how to benefit

the daily lives of individuals. English literature was also

something that was beginning to be developed.

Historically, it began when Queen Victoria was anointed to the

thrown in 1837 and brought a new prosperity to England. She held

the throne for 63 years which is the longest monarch to hold the

thrown ever in English history. To many people, she was a symbol

of stability and prosperity as evidenced by the following feeling

from her people. The Victorian age has been said to be a very

diverse time. Historian T.B. Macaulay in 1838 said that the

English had become “the greatest and most highly civilized people

that ever the world saw.” Yet, another man by the name of Benjamin

Disraeli, who was a writer and a politician, disagreed with this

statement and pointed out that the existence of an England of “two

nations who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and

feelings, as if they were … of different planets; who are

formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are

ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same

laws.” He further says that “these two nations were the richest

and poorest.” It was a time when the rich were rich, and the poor

people were poor. The poor or lower class of people went hungry

and half naked throughout most of their lives. Life and death went

hand in hand; wealth and poverty stood side by side; repletion and

starvation laid them down together.

Such rapid change in industry destroyed jobs as it provided

new ones. The population shifted and left thousands housed in

urban slums with bad water, no sanitation, and little food. The

depression left whole factories unemployed, and with no means of

producing goods. Yet, some people believed that the only way to

control population growth was through starvation or self-control.

Men, women, and children accustomed to the community life of rural

towns and farms to the varied and independent work habits of the

farm, and the small shop, found themselves laboring up to sixteen

hours a day, six days a week, in factories without any government

safety regulations, and with very low pay. People were not known

as individuals only as “hands” with no control over their lives,

hired, and fired at the whim of the owner or the fluctuation of the

market. There was no way to make a better life for oneself because

you were born into a certain social status, or you lived a life of

poverty for the rest of your life or you were one of the privileged

classes and were guaranteed the status of the royalty.

The Victorian years also brought with them the increasing

efforts to achieve political, social, and economic reforms that

would change the structure of the country to meet the changes

created by industry. The Reform Bill was passed in 1832 which

increased the electorate by fifty percent. The bill made it

impossible for workers and women to vote, therefore, only one in

five Englishmen could vote. These men were generally from the

upper class and they controlled everything. To many people, this

was a light of hope that England would improve, but during the

1840’s England saw the worst years of the century for unemployment,

hunger, and disease. It brought radical working class agitation

for the People’s Chapter, which demanded universal male suffrage

and a Parliament in which any man could serve. The effects of

these problems prompted a series of bills to be passed. Parliament

repealed some of the more unjust laws, and began to legislate

shorter working hours, industrial safety, and urban sanitary

reform. Due to the economic prosperity, it reduced radical

agitation and in 1867 a second Reform Bill, which meant that most

working men were allowed to vote. It brought a more liberal view

of what was needed in life.

People’s thoughts and ideas also changed with the development

of the country. The peoples’ ideas became more free and they

accepted change more easily, yet not everybody wanted to admit to

change. People began to ask more questions about life, which

prompted the development of science and many people began to

question the bible. Lyell’s Principles of Geology and Chamber’s

Vestiges of creation brought out the view publically that the earth

was older than the bible said it to be. People’s beliefs were

suddenly being shattered and the quest for answers was in need.

The change caused a great deal of confusion and alarm, which

prompted English writers to accept responsibility and write about

new thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.

Alfred Tennyson, who is a very famous poet, is often regarded

as the chief representative of the Victorian age in poetry.

Tennyson was a man who had seen pain and sorrow in his life. After

the death of his best friend, Arthur Hallam, Tennyson found relief

from his pain in writing. Many of his writings were indeed about

his dead friend. For example in “The Passing of Arthur, the hero

has the same name as Tennyson’s friend and also many lyrical poems,

that later were to become In Memorian A.H.H. These writing were

full of emotions, pain, fear, caring, and the desire to remember

his friend. Almost throughout all of Tennyson’s work there were

pain, sadness, fear, love, and hidden messages to be found, and he

was very romantic. He opened himself up to the world in a very

private way, and also to severe criticism by many people. In “The

Lady of Shalott,”there is pain, frustration, and that of life as a

journey that leads to death. The poem is a way of showing how

people are destined to certain fates in life and that they cannot

escape their fate. Tennyson made people’s feelings real and more

vocal. His writings, later in his life, were publicly admired and

sought out. In 1842 he published another of his works called Poems

which had two volumes, one containing a revised selection from the

volumes of 1830 and 1832, the other, new poems. The new poems

included “Morte d’ Arthur,” and “The Two Voices of Sin” and other

poems that revealed a strange naive quality such as “The May

Queen,” “Lady Clara Vere de Vere,” and “The Lord of Burleigh.” The

new volume was not received well publically. But the grant to him

at this time, by the prime minister, Sir Robert Peel, helped stop

his worries in financial matters. In 1847 he published his first

long poem, The Princess, a poem about anti-feminist fantasia.

A man by the name of Edward Moxon offered to publish the

elegies on Hallam that Tennyson had been composing over the years.

To Tennyson this was a dream that he thought would never come true.

At first they appeared anonymously, which helped with the success

with both reviewers and the public readers won him the friendship

of Queen Victoria, and helped bring about, in the same year, his

appointment as poet laureate.

Tennyson’s ascendancy among Victorian poets began to be

questioned even during his lifetime. Many writers became jealous

and rivals of Tennyson. And 20th-century criticism, influenced by

the rise of a new poetry headed by T.S. Eliot has proposed some

drastic new concepts of his work. Much of Tennyson that appealed

to his readers has ceased to appeal many readers today. He can be

pompous, arrogant, offering little more than shallow or confused

thoughts caused by a lot of pain. A more balanced estimate of

Tennyson has begun to prevail, however, with the recognition of the

enduring greatness of “Ulysses,” some of Tennyson’s best lyrics and

above all the stature of In Memoriam as the great representative

poem of the Victorian Age. It is now also recognized that the

realistic and comic aspects of Tennyson’s work are more important

than they were thought to be during the period of the reaction

against him.

Lord Alfred Tennyson also tried to be very dramatic in such

poems as Queen Mary, but his success was only moderate. He only

showed signs of growing more frustrated and resentment at the

religious, moral, and political tendencies of the age. He had

already caused a sensation by publishing a poem called “Despair.”

It evoked a rush of pamphlets being published, and lectures and

sermons. He shocked many people.

Finally the perception of the poet’s awkward sense of the

mystery of life, which lies at the heart of his greatness, as in

“Crossing the Bar’ or “Flower in the Cranied Wall,” unites his

admirers in this century with those in the last. Though less of

Tennyson’s work may survive than appeared likely during his

Victorian heyday, what does remain and it is by no means small in

quality seems likely to vanish.

In conclusion, the Victorian century was a era of change and

confusion. England improved itself for the people and it’s

government. The writers of the time were supposed to be indicative

for answering questions and for guidance. Lord Alfred Tennyson was

a man who changed the way people thought about literature and

poets. He has also influenced many writers of books, TV shows, and

movies in the plots of stories.