FROM MAUD; A MONODRAMA
NOTES AND WORKSHEET
PART II (lines – 194 to 213)
Maud is written in a number of sections and a variety of poetic forms, but from the point of view and in the voice of a single speaker, which help us to distinguish Maud from Tennyson’s other poems. Maud is a Monodrama, a dramatic piece for one speaker.
Maud is among Tennyson's personal favourites, yet is often received unfavourably. This article highlights what is good, or at least worthy of further analysis, within it.
The narrative of the poem concerns an unnamed lover. The first part of the poem dwells on the funeral of the protagonist's (the main character in a play) father and a feeling of loss and lament prevails. Then the appearance of Maud transforms the narrative into a pastoral, dwelling on her beauty. The appearance of Maud's brother causes conflict, and the poet kills him in a narrated duel. Maud's death impacts the psychological state of the protagonist, and an emotional longing for contact with the deceased echoes the tones of In Memoriam. The poem ends in Part III with the poet leaving to fight in the Crimean War, and parallels may be drawn between the death of Maud's brother, and the apparently justified killing of soldiers in war.
The interpretation of Maud is complicated by the compromised position of the narrator: the emotional instability of the poet. This is expressed through a variety of poetic meters and forms as well as a proto-cinematic cycling of imagery. The puzzle of the outside sphere of Maud, for example, the point of view of Maud herself, remains unresolved. The poem is a distorted view of a single reality, and the variation in meter can be seen to reflect the manic-depressive emotional tone of the speaker. While the poem was Tennyson's own favourite (he was known very willingly to have recited the poem in its entirety on social occasions), it was met with much criticism in contemporary circles.
In Maud, Tennyson returns to the...