Tennyson as the representative poet
Alfred Lord Tennyson was one of the greatest Victorian poets. He is called the most representative poet of his age. His poetry shows the whole image of the age. Religious doubts and disbelief, social vice and problem, political problem, industrial revolution and impact of capitalism, the revolt of the cultured Against the corrupt society, adventurous minds, heroic spirits were the main characteristics of the Victorian age, which are portrayed in his poetry.
Tennyson is a unique poet in the sense that he materializes Greek mythological stories not to tell us the legendary story of the Greeks but to tell us of the Victorian age, Its people, their manners, morals, and beliefs. Tennyson fuses classicism and modernism together in his poetry. His great poems like Ulysses, The Lotos Eaters, Locksley Hall, The Lady of Shallot, In Memoriam, Maud, Tithonus, Oenone, The Princess, Morte d’Arthur, A Dream of Fair Women are typically about Victorian man and woman.
Most of the poems of Tennyson reflect the vital problem of the industrial and moral life of the age. Different conflicts have created restlessness in society. In the poem “Ulysses” we find Ulysses as a restless person. He prefers passing his time in action, adventure but not in quite a peaceful and unexciting manner as an ideal king. Next adventurous spirits, new and newer inventions, and discoveries were other characteristics of the age. Ulysses is the most example of the adventurous spirit who always wants to see the unseen and to know the unknown. He has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
Again, the impact of science, the industrial revolution, and capitalism are seen in the poem “Locksley Hall”.In this poem, we can see that the speaker of the poem always dreams of the dream of modern science which seems a fairy tale for the first time but later it comes to true. He experiences how wealth strains the foreheads of the fools. Only the rich get the help of others. So only because of being poor, he loses his beloved, Amy. So he hates the materialistic outlook of the people of the victorian age.
War and famine were other characteristics of the Victorian age. In the poem “The Lotos Eaters” we see that Ulysses and his comrades happen to anchor an enchanted island named lotos land. After eating the lotos fruits, they being enchanted, start singing a song praising the island and want to stay there forever. In the song, they sing about the restless wars that they experienced. They sing about the present disorder of their homeland, Ithaca. They find music in the prayers of the poor—-
“The poor toil, cleve the soil,
Sow the seed and reap
the harvest with enduring toil.”
Thus, through their song, Tennyson portrays the whole image of Victorian society.
In the poem ” Morte d, Arthur”, he shows the downfall of King Arthur and his Round table, though Arthur was a virtuous king. Tennyson draws king Arthur from the tales of Malory but presents them in the context of the Victorian age.
To sum up, we can that Alfred Tennyson was aware of the social and religious disorders of the gis age. He presents the Victorian age more than any other poet. He played his role as a Koral teacher of the age. For this reason, Alfred Lord Tennyson is often called the representative of the Victorian age.
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