In his poetry, Alfred Tennyson offers a suggestive and careful exploration of the spiritual disorientation of the Victorian intellectual. A distinctive characteristic of Tennyson’s verse is that it textualizes the author’s sense of inquietude and uneasiness when he ponders and reflects on the relationship between doubt and faith Actually, these conditions of being are the most controversial aspects of Tennyson’s poetry and sensibility. The aim of this essay is to explore the role of doubt in Tennyson’s poetry. It appears to be an instrument which stimulates the poet’s reflection on man and its relationship with faith. Without diminishing the force of the poet’s insight, doubt becomes the counterpart of unbelief, more pointedly, we might assert that it has a dialectical function and it might be considered as a method of inquiry expressing the poet’s anguish about man’s condition, his being ephemeral, and more importantly God’s relation to mankind. So that Tennyson’s In Memoriam (published in 1850), written after his friend’s death, Arthur Hallam, becomes the starting point for his mature reflections, and a profound investigation on an afterlife that only faith can sustain. In this context, Tennyson’s poetry, whose atmosphere is governed by a sense of uncertainty and ambiguity characteristic of the Victorian age, searches for a plausible response to man’s inquietude and malaise, focusing on the inner torment deriving from his eschatological doubts. Therefore, his poetry epitomizes his utter and impending attempt to find a valuable response to his fragility, becoming the emblem of man’s personal prayer; and the invocation to the “Strong Son of God Immortal love” is the final possibility of escaping rational constructions, when man confronts himself with the metaphysical quest.
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