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The Lady of Shalott

The Lady of Shalott

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Camelot

Symbol Analysis

Just the name of Camelot calls up images of amazing castles, kings and knights, and people living in peace and justice. Even in the fantasy world of this poem, it seems far away, untouchable until the very end. When we finally do see Camelot, it's a place of joy and beauty, every bit as social and splendid as the island of Shalott was lonely and sad.

  • Line 5: We won't point out every spot where Camelot comes up, since the word is used as a refrain in the fifth line of almost every stanza. We think that repetition is meant to make Camelot seem more like a far off dream than an actual place. It's almost like heaven, a place the Lady can dream about but not actually see.
  • Line 158: In this line, the Lady finally gets to Camelot, the place we've heard so much about. It's a place full of happy people, but for the Lady it's fatal. She can't enter the world of knights and ladies except as a pale and silent corpse in a coffin. When the lady arrives, she brings her sadness with her, and the appearance of her body kills the "royal cheer" of Camelot. It's a powerful image, almost like two worlds crashing together.

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