WOMAN AS THE OTHER: A Study of the Orientalization of Woman in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
This essay argues that the women in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King (1859-1885) are Orientalized. Provided with characteristics which, according to Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978), reflect Western assumptions about the Orient, all of the female characters are perceived as the Other. Woman is depicted either as a representation of the Victorian female ideal, or as an immoral creature of sin and unrestrained passion. These are the only female roles Tennyson allows for, it appears. Further, like the stereotypic Oriental female in Western literature, Tennyson’s women are perceived as sexually alluring and tempting, and their actions bring disorder and downfall to Camelot. In contrast to the fallen women, Arthur and his knights seem to represent everything that woman is not. Whereas the women are ignorant, passionate, irrational and depraved, the men are portrayed as noble, controlled, reasonable and virtuous. The knights thus embody Western assumptions about the Occidental man, as defined by Said’s theory. It should also be noted that Tennyson has made a number of alterations to his sources, and appears to have Occidentalized the knights in the process. The Orientalization of woman and the alterations of the men’s characters strengthen the heroic and godlike traits of the knights’ personalities. Woman has to be Orientalized, it seems, in order to ensure that the knights appear the true and only heroes of the work.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 36 p.
Humanities Theology, Tennyson, Idylls of the King, King Arthur, Said, Orientalism, gender roles
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-53755Local ID: ac2e2629-bc03-4a0b-bfb8-85421e1dfa7fOAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-53755DiVA: diva2:1027131
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
English, master's level
Validerat; 20121116 (global_studentproject_submitter)2016-10-042016-10-04Bibliographically approved