The poem is written in four parts. Each stanza has nine lines that are written with a rhyme scheme of a-a-a-a-b-c-c-c-b. In many of the stanzas, the last line reads, 'The Lady of Shalott.' Tennyson repeats her name over and over to emphasize both her person and tragic circumstances. When we finish reading the poem, we remember her name and the hauntingly beautiful image she portrays.
Part One of the Poem
In part one, we are introduced to the mystery of the young lady who is imprisoned on the Island of Shalott, in the middle of a river that flows down to Camelot. Few know of her, but early in the morning, reapers can hear her sing a cheery song; they call her 'the fairy Lady of Shalott.'
Part Two of the Poem
The Lady of Shalott spends her time weaving a 'magic web with colours gay.' She has heard a whisper telling her that if she looks at Camelot, she will be cursed. She doesn't know what the curse will be, but she takes care not to look. However, as she weaves, she looks into a clear mirror in front of her that somehow reflects the comings and goings of Camelot. The mirror is her only link to the outside world. But what she sees -- funerals, young lovers -- makes her discontent with the 'shadow' images in the mirror. She longs for something that is real, saying, 'I am half-sick of shadows.'