Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Tennyson's Maud has inspired critical controversy since its initial publication in 1855. Objections to the poem have centered on its political sentiments and on the obscure quality of some of its lyrics. Maud's ending, in particular, has been problematic for readers confused when the supposedly morally uplifted speaker sails off to participate in the Crimean War. Other readers have recognized the speaker's inherent psychological defects conveyed through the poem's highly emotional nature. This imagistic study examines how image patterns appearing in the poem symbolically reinforce the different phases of passion in one person, which Tennyson had said replaced "characters" in the dramatic action. Significant patterns include images of light and dark, and images of head, hand and heart. The patterns indicate that the speaker has not recovered fully at the poem's end. Maud's organic life, its self-contained unity, emerges through the simultaneous movement of images within the speaker's psyche. By systematically identifying imagistic parallels with the speaker's psychological development, some light is shed on Maud's complexity and on Tennyson's artistry.
Okura, Janice Akemi, "Significant Images in Tennyson's Maud" (1989). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7035.
McMaster University Library