“The Lady of Shallot” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson begins by describing a land that is isolated by two rivers. This is where the Lady of Shallot lives in a tower of “Four grey walls, and four grey towers” (line 15) , unbeknownst to anyone in Camelot, the nearby village. Lady Shallot is described as being isolated, and under a curse that will kill her if she leaves her tower. She is forced to spend her days weaving what she can see of the world through her mirror. However, a knight comes along and sings along a river bank close to the Lady of Shallot. When she hears his voice, she is compelled to leave the safety of her tower and to look out at the rest of the world.
Here is an image of Rapunzel looking out of her window. Her long hair can easily be seen in this image.
Similarly to this story, the story of Rapunzel was written in just elven years earlier in 1822. Although this was a German fairytale, there are many similarities between the two works. In the story of Rapunzel, she is also locked in a tower with the only view of the real world being a window. What is also strikingly similar is that in Rapunzel, the prince only notices her after hearing her sing, just like how the Lady of Shallot only hear her knight after he was singing. In the original version, there is also a part about her weaving a piece of silk that she receives from the prince, each night. This is how she ultimately manages to escape.
There are some noticeable and important differences between these two works though. In the present day story of Rapunzel, when she lets her hair down, the prince rescues her and she can live happily ever after. The Lady of Shallot on the other hand is forced to face her curse, and she dies. In the sooty of Rapunzel thoguh, there is always the happily ever after moment, when the prince and Rapunzel get to live together for the rest of their lives. Yet the knight in the “The Lady of Shallot”, the prince ignores the Lady when she comes into the village on the boat, and pretends that he doesn’t know her.