The famous and heart wrenching poem of the Lady of Shalott, Authored by Lord Alfred Tennyson, gives a beautiful example of sacrifice. The poem is based loosely off a legend of a mysterious woman kept in a tower on the lake outside Camelot. In the legend its implied that she protects the sword of King Arthur. However, the Lady of Shalott suffers a mysterious curse that prohibits her to ever look directly at the outside world, her only connection to the outside is through a mirror that reflects Camelot and its people behind her. She continually weaves the places and people she sees in the mirrors reflection and comments on her solitude by saying she is ” Half sick of shadows.” One day, as she’s weaving she sees the reflection of Lancelot behind her and on in impulse turns to look at him bringing down the curse and the her statement that the poem is most known for:
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.”
Knowing that her curse has been put into action she leaves the tower and finds a boat on which she writes her name and floats toward Camelot, unfortunately the Lady of Shallot dies before she ever reaches her destination.
As sad as the poem may seem the visual of the poem is astounding and has provided inspiration for some of the best artwork ever known. That paramount moment when she sees Lancelot then seconds later the realization of what she’s brought on to herself makes for a powerful picture of dueling emotions.