Poem Analysis

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Which aspects of relationships are presented in the three poems we studied? References to “Piano” by D.H Lawrence, “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas and “Hal-past two by U.A Fanthorpe

In the three poems we have studied: Sonnet 116 “ Let me not to the marriage” by William Shakespeare ; “My last Duchess” by Robert Browning; “If” by Rudyard Kipling, different aspects of relationships and love are explored in different forms: power, pride, eternity, love as a guiding force and paternal care. These poets use language, images, and structure to make their messages about love more clear and evident. The first poem I am going to analyze is “My Last Duchess”. It portrays the tragic epilogue of a loveless marriage between the strict, severe Duke of Ferrara, who chose “never to stoop”; and the sweet, outgoing, naive Duchess privileged by the noble honor of being given her husband’s “nine-hundred-years-old” name. The poem investigates issues that can be involved in relationships where power and ego takes over. The Duke wields an exaggerated oppressive power, which contracts with the friendly attitude of the Duchess towards inferior classes’ people. This became the central cause problem in the relationship: he disapproved of the Duchess “smiles” and blushes which “went everywhere”. He expected her to behave with the same tremendous dignity as himself. The Duke wants to see his wife behaving in a way befitting her noble place in society. Perhaps even an obscure and sinister jealousy triggered by the Duchess’ constant kindness, which he did not expect from a character, who should have been entirely of his possession: “since none puts by the curtain I have drawn for you, but I”. The quotation illustrates how after her death he kept her smile and blush exclusively for himself- perhaps this was what he wanted while she was alive. The fact that she talked with men and “thanked” them the same way she treated the Duke himself obsessed him. His supremacy was totally put at same level of a peasant’s: “somehow-I know not how- as if she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody’s gift”. In fact, the duke is a person who loves control, and who is perfectly conscious about the fact of his superior social class. He wants everything to be under his possession- this can be seen by the fact that he likes and admires a bronze sculpture of Neptune taming a sea-horse. He enjoys anything involving control and power. A point that can also be connected to the teacher of “Half-past two” by U.A Fanthorpe trying to tower over the student. The structure of the poem is composed by a strict and elegant iambic pentameter, which help the reader realize about the terrific sense of control the Duke possesses. It is fixed in well-ordered system of riming couplets, yet the poem is full of enjambments which help the poem flow like a conversation. In fact, Robert Browning set the poem out as a dramatic monologue- it was intended to be performed to an imagined listener. This creates a very fluent tone, capable to indicate immediately any change of the speaker’s state of mind. For example, his growing irritation, even rage, with his former wife becomes clear with the caesura to slow down the tone, when in the 43rd verse he states” And I choose Never to stoop. Oh sir...” The pause takes the poem into and angry edge. In fact when the Duke “gave commands”, the threat was very potent. The diction instantly points the change of tone: a recurrent assonance of the letter “s” comes out as an angry, sinister hiss and provides a sibilant sound. This transition with angry diction yet factual words also gives an image of the Duke as if he possessed no guilt and transmitting and unemotional shock. Browning also uses a As a result of this, as predicted, loveless marriages with no connection of ” true minds” like in the Sonnet 116 of William Shakespeare would have never become the typical love story with a happy ending. The Duke juxtaposed a...
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