In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
The Representation of Women in Tennyson's Poetry
Graduate Class 2017
Nineteenth-century British literature and culture have been rich fields for studies. Since the turn of the twentieth century, scholars and critics have tracked the intersections and tensions between Victorian literature and the visual arts, politics, social organization, Women condition, economic life, technical innovations, scientific thought – in short, culture in its broadest sense. (Scheinberg 1).
In this research I want to examine women condition in Victorian era and how they are presented in poetry particularly in Tennyson's poetry who held the title of Poet Laureate for over forty years.
In his essay "Victorian Women in Literature," Jaymi Elford mentions that "during the Victorian era, there was great controversy over the roles of women and what constituted the ideal woman. For the better half of the era, women were seen as pure, pious and innocent. They were treated like household commodities" (1).
In another article "Victorian Women and their Working Rules," Kara L.Barrett says that "women during the Victorian Era did not have many rights. They were viewed as only supposed to be housewives and mothers to their children. The women during this era were only viewed as people that should only concern themselves with keeping a successful household. However, during this time women were forced into working positions outside of the household. Women that were forced into working situations outside of their households were viewed negatively by society. Many women needed to have an income to support their families because the men in the household were not making enough money to survive. When the women entered the work places they were not made to feel welcome and were often harassed. These women workers therefore were not welcomed in the work place (outside of the household) or in society" (1).
Women throughout the Victorian Era were treated as secondary citizens to men in society. They were very restricted within their classes and were even more restricted in the work place.
The image of middle-class women in early nineteenth-century England is based on the assumption that women naturally differ from men in every sense: not only physically but especially intellectually. While men are granted physical strength, women are weak creatures. (Beate)
Society during this era made it impossible for women to make any advancement. “Whatever their social rank, in the eyes of the law women were second-class citizens” (Gallagher, 57). Victorians believed that a woman’s proper and only place was to be within a household environment.
In his essay "Gender roles in the 19th century," Kathryn Hughes believes that "as the 19th century progressed men increasingly commuted to their place of work – the factory, shop or office. Wives, daughters and sisters were left at home all day to oversee the domestic duties that were increasingly carried out by...