‘My Last Duchess’: Critical Analysis of Poetry

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In the poem ‘my last duchess’ Browning concentrates on how humans can abuse their power. In the poem, The Duke is annoyed because he feels his wife was ‘two easily impressed’ and that her ‘looks went everywhere,’. throughout the poem Browning implies that the Duke couldn't stand the way the Duchess treated him the same as everyone else, showing the audience that he thought he was superior to everybody else just from his power. the Dukes anger levels increase throughout the poem as he battles to control his wife, this is shown by the author using enjambment over several lines which suggests that the duke is getting carried away with his anger. The duke craved power and control over his wife and when he couldn't have it he ‘gave commands; then all smiles stopped together’ although this line is very vague it leads the reader to believe that the Duke had his wife killed, this line has a evil tone. even after her death, The Duke still felt the need to have power over his wife, one way he does this is not letting anyone see the picture of her that he had, this is shown when he says ‘no one puts by the curtain I have drawn for you, but I’. this shows that the cheek saw his wife as just another one of his possessions and he controls her now she's dead as he couldn't when she was alive

Similarly, ‘ozymandias’ also explores human power and the power nature has over humas. the poem describes a statue in a desert of a King who ruled the past society. his face is proud with a ‘sneer of cold command’ . However, this oxymoron tells us that this statue is now a ‘colossal wreck’ with a ‘shattered visage’. this is ironic because even a powerful human can't control the damaging effects of time and nature. the ruined statue implies that human achievements are insignificant compared to the passing of time. the ruined statue can also be a symbol for the temporary power of human achievement. Shelley’s Use of irony reflects his hatred and his belief that it is possible to overturn social order. ultimately nature has ruined the statue showing us that nature and time have more power than humans could ever have. the last line ‘the lone and level sands far away.’ empathises the insignificance of ozymandias and the significance of nature as it will last longer than any of us ever will.

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The poem ‘my last Duchess’ is written with rhyming couplets which helps to create a rigid form that indicates how the Duke controls the poem just like he controls the death of his wife. how regular the rhyme scheme is, is also showing us the Dukes stubborn character. the rigid rhyme scheme also gives no space for change or questioning. in the poem the Duke is having a conversation with a visitor and how the poem is written gives the impression that the Duke is having a conversation and gives it a chatty tone.

On the other hand, ‘ozymandias’ is a sonnet but does not follow the regular sonnet rhyme scheme. this reflects the way human power can easily be destroyed. this is also shown throughout the poem as it is often interrupted which reflects how human power can easily be destroyed. the poems contrast as ‘ozymandiua’ shows us how human power can be taken away from you at any time due to the significance of nature and how nature is more powerful than any human could ever be. Similarly in ‘ my last duchess’ it shown that's power cannot get you through everything and make you better then everybody else as his wife still treated him the same as everybody else, which he couldn't stand, because he believed he should be treated better done everybody else just because of his power. both poems show the audience that's power cannot control everything.

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‘My Last Duchess’: Critical Analysis of Poetry. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/my-last-duchess-critical-analysis-of-poetry/
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