Carroll and Tennyson’s portrayal of their monsters can be compared and contrasted through their use of structure, language and imagery.
An immediate contrast can be drawn between the linguistics of both poems. Carroll’s ‘The Jabberwocky’ is a nonsense poem that features many words that Carroll created such as ‘borogroves’. By creating new words the reader is able to draw their own interpretation of the strange world Carroll has written about. Moreover, Carroll has also blended words together to create new words entirely, this use of portmanteau could imply that there are no pre-existing words that could even begin to convey the ideas Carroll was putting forward. In stark contrast, Tennyson’s ‘The Kraken’ has a very formal tone. Furthermore, ‘The Kraken’ has the qualities of a Petrarchan sonnet apart from the fact it has 15 lines, not 14, and the last verse has 12 syllables as opposed to ...view middle of the document...
Furthermore, when Tennyson says ‘There hath he lain for ages and will lie’ (Muldoon, 1998, p. 139) he appears almost sympathetic towards the Kraken. This links back to ‘The Kraken’ being almost a sonnet. Moreover, a religious reference is made in verse 13 ‘Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;’ (Muldoon, 1998, p. 139) this seems to be referring to Judgement day; it could be argued that this disturbance interrupted the Krakens sleep causing him to rise. Similar to this, The ‘Jabberwocky’ also has a religious reference when Carroll described the Jabberwock as having ‘eyes of flame’ (Muldoon, 1998, pp. 135-6) this creates the image of hell, possibly implying the Jabberwock came from hell itself. Carroll’s portrayal of the Jabberwock seems to be largely negative however; due to the invented words it’s difficult to understand or even begin to interpret their meaning. Although, it could be argued that Carroll’s gibberish could actually be a mockery, perhaps Carroll is implying that monsters like the Jabberwock and Jubjub bird do not exist, much like the language Carroll has used throughout. In addition, it could be said that both poems have hidden messages. The Kraken could be viewed as a metaphor for mans fears- they are not always founded and once they are brought to light they can easily die. Likewise, the repetition of the first stanza in ‘The Jabberwock’ could symbolize the slaying of the Jabberwock as good triumphing over evil, but the borogroves still remain implying that evil is never absolute.
In conclusion, both poets present their monsters in completely different ways. Tennyson’s portrayal of the Kraken appears sympathetic, the Kraken never harms anyone and the theme of isolation could imply that Tennyson believed the Kraken was simply misunderstood. In contrast to this, Carroll’s depiction of the Jabberwock is, overall, extremely negative However, there is also the interpretation that Carroll is making a mockery; the monster’s are as fictitious as his words. Either way, both poets use multiple types of imagery to effectively portray their monsters to their readers.