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Monday, April 19, 2010

Geraint and Enid

This section is made up of two idylls, both concerning the titular figures.  Geraint and his wife Enid are departing the court of King Arthur because of rumors about Queen Guinevere's "guilty love for Lancelot."  Geraint fears his wife will be subject to similar rumors, being so close to the Queen.  Tennyson flashes back to describe how they met:  Geraint,a knight of the Round Table, comes to the defense of Guinevere's honor after she is disrespected by Edryn.  Enid's beauty inspires him to defeat Edryn, causing him to ask for her hand.  After their marriage, the Queen keeps a promise to clothe the wife of Geraint.  Geraint tests his wife by forcing her to walk ahead of him and reamin silent.  Despite this, Enid repeatedly warns him of dangers ahead, proving her loyalty.

Tennyson's use of dramatic irony leads to a misunderstanding between husband and wife.  Geraint overhears his wife say, "I am no true wife," and the statement proves to be a double entendre to the couple.  He assumes that she has been unfaithful as is rumored about Guinevere though her real meaning is that she should tell her husband that people are ridiculing him.  Nevertheless, Enid proves herself faithful in the end.

The above painting is Enid and Geraint by Rowland Wheelwright (1870-1955).

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