The Lady of Shalott
Art and Culture Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott. (lines 71-72)
Here we see the dark side of the Lady's situation, and maybe of being an artist in general. If you grow beets or sell fish for a living, you are out in contact with the world and other people. Sure it's not as fancy as being an artist, but at least you're dealing with things that are definitely real. You can see how, if you were shut up in your room weaving, or painting, or writing poems (we're looking at you, Tennyson), you might get a little sick of it. Most artists aren't under a mysterious curse, but if you sit and write or weave long enough, you might start to feel like it.
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott. (lines 125-126)
This is a weird moment, and there are all kinds of possible interpretations. Here's one: what if this writing on the boat is her way of turning herself into a work of art? Bear with us here. In general, you don't name your boat after yourself. It's just not something normal people do. So we think there must be something else going on here. Maybe this is the Lady's way of planting her flag in the world, of saying "I'm here, I exist, and my life is my art." She puts herself on display, in a way, for the people of Camelot, but especially for Lancelot. She becomes a work of art, a still life, framed by the boat in which she lies.