How far do you agree with the view that stagnation and inactivity dominate the worlds of Tennyson’s poems?
When it comes to Tennyson’s poetry, there are some aspects in which the poems are dealing with things like stagnation and inactivity. For example, in poems such as Mariana, The Lotos-eaters, Tithonus and also The Lady of Shalott, there is much stagnation and inactivity which consume the poems and also the main personas. On the other hand, with poems like Ulysses and Godiva, you have the personas wanting to get out there and do something.
You can see in Mariana that there has been a lot of inactivity lately as you have moss growing and nails rusting. This is also a signifier of stagnation as moss grows and nails rust after a period of nothing happening, which is what the poem is all about, nothing happening and Mariana waiting for her lover to come back to her. This poem is full of inactivity as Mariana has become a slave to her own waiting game as she’s staying in a lonely prison, which is acting as her home, only waiting for her lover to return to her.
You have a sense of stagnation and inactivity in The Lotos-eaters as this is about the Mariners going to this island and being lured in and then given these Lotos plants to eat, which they do, and it sends them in a state of amnesia, which makes them forget where they actually are. There is a sense of inactivity as they’re not doing anything, they’re just eating these plants and going through life in a daze. This could be a reference to the opium dens which were around in Victorian times, where people would go and enter an opium haze, much like the Mariners with the Lotos plants.
Tithonus is consumed by his inactivity and stagnation as he’s on the brink of dying every day, due to his immortality, however, he didn’t get eternal youth, hence the fact that he’s on the cusp of dying every day, but never actually dying. With the decay throughout the poem, the sense of stagnation and inactivity is strong as we’re...