Tennyson's Idylls of the king: women with distinct personalities
LE3 .A278 2006
Master of Arts
English & Theatre Studies
This thesis examines the complexity of Arthurian female characters in Tennyson's 'Idylls of the King' and their dissimilarities to his sources. In doing so, this thesis reveals textual evidence which argues that Tennyson supported the notion of gender equality and objected to the patriarchal paradigm that marginalized women within his social order. This study also demonstrates the tension within Tennyson which his first four ' Idylls' reveals, his divided self that was sympathetic to the feminist cause, and yet fond of patriarchal ideals of chivalry and manliness. It also demonstrates Tennyson's need as Poet Laureate to couch his agenda in a way that is both gender neutral and palatable to a staunch upper- and middle-class Victorian society. To this end, this study demonstrates that Tennyson conflates his sources within a cautious feminist agenda that sympathizes with its female protagonists, who, compared to their medieval counterparts, show remarkable dissimilarities that speak to both their physical and mental strengths.
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