I was curious if anyone else agreed with me that Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott could be considered a commentary on gender in his time? Particularly, it seems to speak about the role of women in Europe in the early 19th century. It was socially expected for women to stay at home. On the occasion a woman attended a social event, she was expective to remain passive, awaiting the arrival of potential suitors. Women were equally as confined in society as the Lady of Shalott is in her tower. Even once married, women were expected to be wholly domestic, focused on caring for the household and children. To seek a role in the male-dominated world or to pursue any external desires was not even considered an option. As we witness in the ballad, the lady eventually meets her doom by attempting to escape her confinment.
My question is – if Tennyson did consider this theme while writing The Lady of Shalott, is he defending or condemning her for her decision to venture into the world?