Tennyson's Poems

Tennyson’s Portrayal of His Speaker’s Resentment in Maud. 11th Grade

Tennyson’s reclusive speaker is shown to condemn the actions of both people and society as a whole within ‘Maud’; many of the speaker’s social criticisms are shown to be valid social critiques of the Victorian age, in contrast to his sometimes erratic and distorted cognitive patterns displayed through disjunctive structural techniques within the poem. Conversely, some of the speaker’s more extreme criticisms of mass social demographics such as women display signs of the mental health issues the speaker is plagued with in the second act of the poem. In this essay I will be exploring how Tennyson uses literary and structural techniques to present his speaker’s resentment of people and society within the following extract, and comparing this to the criticisms of civilisation later on within the poem.

Tennyson portrays his speaker as derogatory of the newly rich: ‘seeing his gewgaw castle shine, new as his title’. The use of the simile emphasises the relative modernity of Maud’s suitor’s position and exacerbates the idea that the suitor is not worthy of his title or income, having inherited both rather than having earned them. In generalised terms, Tennyson’s speaker is shown to be critical of the capitalist state which allows the...

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