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May 11, 2023

The concept of shadows in “The Lady of Shalott” arises when the Lady of Shalott
gets tired of shadows, because she wants to see life through her own eyes. It is heavily implied that The lady of Shalott has had to undergo this curse for many years – as long as she can remember. The curse involves the Lady of Shalott being stuck in a tower above Camelot, and only being able to see what is happening in the world through her mirror. If she were to look outside of her window, the curse would activate and that proves to be fatal at the end of the poem. “A curse is on her if she stay to look down on Camelot”. When the lady of Shalott looks through the mirror, it is her only outlet to see people, but looking through a mirror every day, never speaking to anyone, she gets bored and tired. The Lady of Shalott is a shadow to the people in the mirror, and it can also be seen as they are her shadow. The lady says, “I am half sick of shadows”, meaning that she is bored of being a shadow and looking at shadows. (She can’t look at everything in real life, through her own eyes) The people in the mirror are also a temptation to the lady, tempting her to look down, or go down from the tower; this proves to be true when Lancelot appears and the lady finally gives into the temptation. This is because she had never had the feel of a man, or even another person. “She hath no loyal knight and true.” and so the Lady of Shalott does what she knows will prove to be fatal. “She look’d down to Camelot”. Lancelot is Shalott chasing reality – she wants him, she wants life outside the tower, alas, she cannot achieve it; Lancelot led her to her death.

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