My Last Duchess and Ulysses

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Although they are famous works by two different famous poets, "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning and "Ulysses" by Alfred Lord Tennyson share many similarities. Both poems are examples of dramatic monologues, in that they consist entirely of the speech of the main character. As a result they both have very few stanzas. "My Last Duchess" is set in Italy during the Renaissance period. In this poem the Duke is talking to his prospective father-in-law's servant about a painting of his former wife. Ulysses, an ancient Greek hero, is talking about his hatred of his present lifestyle and his wish to travel again before his impending death. Although they are both powerful men speaking about their pasts, there are noticeable differences between the two poems. The differences are seen in both the characters themselves and the poetic devices used to present them. One of the most evident differences between the Duke and Ulysses is the source of their power, and the kind of power that they possess. The Duke's power comes from his title. His title refers to his position as the ruler of one of the Italian city states. This is a position that the Duke was born into rather than one he earned. He puts great value on his inherited status, referring to it as a "gift." He objected when his wife did not consider his power to be more precious than the gifts other people had given to her. He considers himself to have been very generous by making her his Duchess, and he thinks that his wife should have ranked this generosity higher than that of others. The Duke is also somewhat jealous of the way that things other than him can make his wife happy. He thinks that she should have love for only him. This is shown when he refers to someone else by saying "The bough of cherries some officious fool / Broke in the orchard for her," The Duke seems to show distaste when referring to someone else. This could also represent his opinions of all his minions. In this aspect seems to mirror the Duke...
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