My Last Duchess Literary Devices

This sample essay on My Last Duchess Literary Devices provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

I have chosen two poems by Robert Browning, ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess,’ and one by the earlier poet Andrew Marvell, ‘To His Coy Mistress. ‘ In this essay I plan to compare the contrasting approaches to love in these three poems, and how the poets achieve their aims through language.

This can be done using poetic devices such as enjambment, rhyme scheme and meter and language including diction, metaphors and similes. ‘My last Duchess’ is a dramatic monologue. This means that only one person is talking and therefore only his point of view is shown.

This point of view shows his personality and how he feels towards his wife. The poem begins, “That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive.

I call. That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf’s hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. ” This gives the reader the impression that the man does not care about his wife, but more about the value of the painting and how a famous painter spent lots of time painting it. Straight away the reader can see that this man is cold and not passionate towards his deceased wife.

My Last Duchess Meter

Two easily impressed: she liked whate’er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.

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” Here the man believes that his wife was too easily impressed and affectionate towards others and other things. He wants his wife to adore him and no other, and therefore is a selfish man. This also includes enjambment which makes the dramatic monologue seem more like a speech which he is dictating and shows him as very egotistical and self absorbed. The speech becomes very disturbing when he says: “Then all smiles stopped together. ”

Here he is morbid and cold hearted as he is saying that because she did not completely adore him, he killed her, or at least that is the impression the reader gets. His selfish personality has become disgustingly evil as he is willing to kill his own wife just because he did not have her complete admiration. How horrid and mean must a man be to do that? “Together down, sir, Notice Neptune, though Taming a sea horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me! ” Here he has moved on from showing his guest the painting to another one of his prized objects, and that is what he sees her as, an object.

Just like an object she was disposed of just as easily as she was obtained. The reader by the end of the poem understands that the man has no passion towards his previous wife, only the disgust of how his wife was too easily impressed, which to most people would be seen as a good quality. This is in great contrast to ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ as this shows no passion at all, and ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ is all about passion and emotion. “The rain set early in to-night, The sullen wind was soon awake. ” The rain and hard wind show the mans mood, and this is an unhappy and loveless one.

This mood however is completely reversed, “When glided in Porphyria; straight She shut out the cold and the storm. ” Now the cold and storm have gone, showing his previously discontented mood has been rid of , and he is now full of love and happiness due to a beautiful damsel fleeing from the storm and seeking shelter. This poem is inclusive of the weather and another character unlike ‘My Last Duchess’ which includes only one character, the rich man. This poem may be less egotistical but still just as sinister, unpleasant and inclusive of death.

He falls deeply in love with Porphyria and wishing that time would stand still he took her hair in one long string, and wound it “Three times her little throat around, And strangled her. ” Unlike seeing her as an object, he sees her as a wonderful woman, on a higher level, but the twist is whilst they are in such deep love with each other he kills her. This may be seen as selfish as in the last poem but she loved him too so in his twisted mind it was fine to keep this moment where they love each other forever, and to do this he kills her.

He still is in just as much praise of her as before and believes she is such a brilliant woman. Like the last poem this is sinister, but is very passionate. ‘To His Coy Mistress’ is also very passionate, but is not cold like the others. It is more for comic purposes as the way in which the man talks to the mistress to get her in bed with him is comic. “My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires, and more slow; An hundred years should go to praise. ” He rudely and comically uses vegetable love as a metaphor for his penis erecting and then says how he wants to praise her.

The first stanza therefore is all about the lustful man saying that if there was time enough he would spend it praising her. This is all very comic and would seem so to the coy lady. I believe it would make her laugh and blush and the man to her would seem witty and appealing. However, unlike in the last poem where the woman is seen as a wonderful woman who is on a higher level, here he is trying to reduce her and bring her down to his level and in to his bed, literally. It retains however the passion.

This passion is in the form of lust and ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ is more passion in the form of love, however disturbing it may be. In conclusion love in these poems is portrayed in a number of different ways. ‘My Last Duchess’ is very cold poem where the woman is objectified and there is a distorted view of love. There is also little passion shown. ‘Porphyria’s lover’ is quite a passionate poem, which portrays the woman as respectable and brilliant. However the love becomes sinister as in ‘My last Duchess’. To his Coy Mistress’ is much more light hearted than the others and is comic. The poem is quite passionate, but lust is the form of passion and that is not true love, but a love that like in ‘My Last Duchess’ objectifies the woman. Also the women in the two poems are seen as less important as in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ which represents the woman as the most important thing in the world. Therefore Browning poems are more sinister and different to Marvell which is more like Donne as their poems are more comic and lustful.

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My Last Duchess Literary Devices
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