Study Guide

Mariana Freedom and Confinement

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Freedom and Confinement

Mariana stays in her grange for most of the poem—she's trapped. It's surrounded by a moat, (kind of like a princess in a castle, waiting for a prince to rescue her), which leads to confinement no matter what, but it's really Mariana who has trapped herself. As she pines for her absent lover, she becomes more and more withdrawn. Depression can confine a person, "Mariana" argues, whether they are surrounded by a fancy moat or not.

Questions About Freedom and Confinement

  1. What parts of the poem tell us that Mariana rarely leaves the grange?
  2. Does Mariana act like the moat keeps her there? How, or how not? If it doesn't, then what does keep her there?
  3. Does Mariana expect her man to come and free her from her confinement? How can you tell?
  4. Whom does the poem blame for Mariana's confinement? Why do you think so?

Chew on This

The poems shows us how depression leads to mental confinement. Mariana is depressed, and so she confines herself.

Mariana's fixation on death is another form of confinement.

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