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Jungian Perspective of The Lady of Shalott

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Celeste Murawsky

on 24 October 2013

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Transcript of Jungian Perspective of The Lady of Shalott

Minor Archetypes
Apart from the four main archetypes Jung also believed in a large number of other, minor, archetypes. These minor archetypes are linked to, or represent aspects of, the main archetypes. Multiple archetypes can appear in the same person.
Jungian Perspective
of The Lady of Shalott

The Shadow
Anima and Animus
The shadow is a reflection of the deeper element of our psyche. The shadow is dark, unknown and can become very troubling. It does not follow rules and by doing this often discovers new things which lead to chaos and battle. We deny the shadow within ourselves but often see it in others. It often appears in our dream, hallucinations and musings, often as something or someone who is bad, scary or detestable in some way. Encounters with the shadow may reveal our deeper thoughts and fears. It may take over when an individual is dazed or confused.
How these Archetypes Apply to The Lady of Shalott
The three archetypes that apply to the lady of shalott are the shadow , the anima/animus and the self.
The Shadow
In the Lady of Shalott, the shadow archetype appears and the Lady’s shadow is revealed. Her shadow is what leads her to look out of her window at Sir Lancelot and eventually, suffer the consequences of her curse. It is her darker half that leads her into chaos. She is tempted to look out her window by her unconscious desires. Her shadow took over and caused her death.
The Self
The Anima/ Animus
Throughout most of the poem the Lady of Shalott seems very disconnected from her soul. She lives an uncomplicated life alone in her cottage, never leaving her loom, or even glancing out her window. Instead, she experiences the world through a mirror and is disconnected with the outside world. Jung’s theory suggests that when a woman longs for/dreams of a man she is trying to connect to her animus (masculine soul). Therefore, when the Lady of Shalott gives in to her desires and looks out to see Sir Lancelot, she is attempting to connect with her soul. The anima/animus’s prime goal is to be united with love; this is what the Lady of Shalott is seeking when she breaks her curse. When she sets off down the river towards Camelot it is a physical representation of her reconnecting with her soul and pursuing love.
The Father: Stern, Powerful, Controlling
The Mother: Feeding, Nurturing, Soothing
The Child: Birth, Beginnings, Salvation
Family Archetypes
The Hero: Rescuer, Champion
The Maiden: Purity Desire
The Wise Old Man: Knowledge, Guidance
The Magician: Mysterious, Powerful
The Earth Mother: Nature
The Witch or Sorceress: Dangerous
The Trickster: Deceiving, Hidden

Story Archetypes
Animal Archetypes
The Faithful Dog: Unquestioning loyalty
The Enduring Horse: Never giving up
The Devious Cat: Self serving
The Self
The self is an archetype that represents the unification of the unconsciousness and consciousness of an individual. The self is symbolized by the circle. The ego is the center of consciousness, whereas the self is the center of the total personality, which includes consciousness, the unconscious and the ego. From birth every individual has an original sense of self and wholeness, but as you grow older a separate ego materializes out of the original feeling of unity. So for the rest of your life you are trying to put the wholeness back together.
What is the Jungian Perspective?
Jungian Philosophy originated from the ideas of Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist. It aims to understand the human consciousness and what motivates us to behave in certain ways, it should be noted that was an early colleague of Sigmund Freud. Jung analyzed the dreams of his patients and noticed reoccurring themes and symbols.
The Lady of Shalott was fully connected to her ‘self’ before the curse was placed on her (if she was ever without the curse). The curse represents how she has no connection with her ‘self’ and was trapped in only one world (her tower). When your conciseness, unconsciousness and ego are separated you will feel there is something missing. The Lady of Shalott became aware of her circumstances and starts to lust for a real connection. When she looks out her window and breaks the mirror it symbolizes her finally standing up to her fears. These fears disconnect the self from its connection to the universe. When she broke the curse and just let the universe take her away, she reconnected her ‘self’ and became whole again.
What did he find?
Jung realized that these themes and symbols found in dreams are also often found in the literature of countries all over the world. He defined these reoccurring themes as archetypes and declared them relevant to all people. Jung believed these archetypes existed because we all share a 'collective unconsciousness' that thinks the same. The following are some examples of Jung's most popular archetypes.
Anima (female) and animus (male), or more simply put 'the soul', are the routes to communication with the consciousness. They represent the true self as opposed to the self we convey to the public. Although males typically have a more dominant animus and females a stronger anima both can also have aspects of the other archetypes.
In Closing
There are many aspects of the poem The Lady of Shallot by Alfred Tennyson that relate to some of Carl Jung's psychological archetypes, including the shadow, anima/animus and the self. This literary viewpoint allows for a very interesting analysis of the motivations to the Lady of Shalott's actions.

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(continue reading for the full poem)

The Lady of Shalott
Alfred Tennyson

Part I.

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veil'd
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to tower'd Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers "'Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott."

Part II.

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,
Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half-sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.
Part III.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A redcross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle-bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.
All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.
She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale-yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse –
Like some bold seër in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance –
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right –
The leaves upon her falling light –
Thro' the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken'd wholly,
Turn'd to tower'd Camelot;
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
A corse between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.
Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross'd themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."
By: Celeste, Jonas, Julia, Justin, Sam and Savanna
Full transcript