Below are questions from Aimee Freston's fine presentation on Tennyson's Idylls. Note: I've added a few follow-up comments.
1. How do you read the ending of the poem? Is it positive or negative? Does Tennyson hold that faith can come back or is it a helpless cause?
[Don't forget the key quotation from our selections of the Idylls: "The old order changeth, yielding place to new,/And God fulfils [sic] himself in many ways . . . ." ]
2. What connection, if any, does Tennyson suggest between Arthur's accomplishments and 19th century England?
[See the NA introduction to the Victorian Age as well as the NA online for historical/social context]
3. If we take the union of Arthur and Guinevere as a metaphor for the unification of England, what does the eventual betrayal of Guinevere imply? Are the links Tennyson creates, eithe intentional or unintentional, between marital and political union dangerours in these regards?
[Remember the passage I read from "Guinevere" in the Idylls (lines 456-523). Are women the cause of Camelot's downfall? What does this idea suggest? Also, think of how these questions are "answered" in the movie King Arthur.]
***Check the Oxford English Dictionary (from our library databases) to look up the meaning of "idyll."