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Tennyson's Princess The Woman's Cause Is Man's

1082 words - 5 pages

The Woman's Cause Is Man's

Alfred Lord Tennyson, the author of The Princess, 1847, was born as the fourth of twelve children on August 6th, 1809, in Somersby, Lincolnshire to George and Elizabeth Tennyson. In 1827 he began his higher education at Trinity College, Cambridge; where he won university prizes for his poetry and became involved in an undergraduate club, The Apostles, which greatly influenced his life and later works. Tennyson died on October 6, 1892 at the age of 83 years after enjoying a delayed but satisfying and profitable literary career (Everett)

The Princess was the work that turned Tennyson's struggling career around and laid the foundation for his ...view middle of the document...

Interestingly, the very first British institution of higher education for women, Queen's College in London, was opened the year following the publication of The Princess. The story's heroine, Princess Ida, has sworn never to marry and has dedicated her life to the founding of a women's college. The Prince, on the other hand, is determined to win the Princess and to convince her that her efforts on behalf of feminists are futile. In the end - the Princess concedes, turns her college into a hospital and agrees to marry the Prince. The Woman's Cause is Man's is the Prince's concluding speech, in which he envisions a future where men and women are more alike and relations between them are idyllic. Portions of The Princess, written as a dramatic monologue, allow the reader to observe events as they unfold. In drama a line can be voiced in only one way, with only one tone; the printed dramatic monologue allows for numerous interpretations - it gives the character(s) the ability to present more than one mindset on a subject (Hair).  Therefore, the dramatic monologue was the ideal vehicle to express the concerns related to the volatile subject of women's rights issues of the time. Queen Victoria, the matriarch of the Victorian era, was no supporter of women's rights issues. She symbolized Duty, Family and Propriety and those who held opinions that did not convey these foundational principles of Victorian times were denounced for their "mad, wicked folly"(pg 1785).

Known as the "saddest of all English poets"(T.S. Eliott), Tennyson seemed to be the embodiment of melancholy -- he was plagued, his entire life, by a fear of mental illness that ran in his family. This fear and the grief suffered by Tennyson throughout his life fed the melancholy that was to be the inspiration of many of his greatest works.  This same melancholy defined as: 1) Sadness or depression of the spirits; gloom or 2) Pensive reflection or contemplation can be found in lines of The Woman's Cause is Man's.  Tennyson's Prince pleads with Princess Ida to see the folly of the past (suppression of women by men) and the present...

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