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How does Browning present the idea of love in 'The Laboratory' and 'My Last Duchess'?

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Introduction

How does Browning present the idea of love in 'The Laboratory' and 'My Last Duchess'? Robert Browning was born into a wealthy family in 1812 in the suburbs of London. His education was a fusion of private instruction and formal schooling. Browning's Father was the owner of a large library of thousands of books, this helped Browning gain an immense literary knowledge. Browning was intelligent and he cultivated a taste for books and he learned numerous languages. Browning had a cultured and intellectual outlook on life. Browning wrote two of his most famous poems, 'The Laboratory' and 'My Last Duchess' at the start of the Victorian era, a time when Britain was going through vast change. The contrast between the poor and the rich was extraordinary. A large percentage of the British society was poverty stricken. Not everything was negative though, the industrialisation of Britain was a particularly exciting time. Technology was moving on at a stupendous pace, but did these changes happen so remarkably fast, that people of Britain found it difficult to adapt? Browning decides to write both 'The Laboratory' and 'My Last Duchess' in historical settings with traditional themes that are always relevant issues; love, hatred and jealousy. ...read more.

Middle

The Duke also describes the painters work as a 'design', this gives me the impression that this picture is not the Duchess being natural, but she is being made to have a different appearance to cover up her personality. I get the initiative that this man is a show off and does not mind that a hefty element of his life is not kept private. I think this because the Duke is rather challenging towards his guest and encourages this man to observe the painting, 'Will`t please you sit and look at her?' He is obviously used to giving demands and ordering people around. It is unusual for someone to be so direct to someone that they describe as a 'Stranger' even if they are of a high status. The Duke gets carried away and involved with talking about the painting and the artist, this gives other clues about this mans need to be in control. I think the Duke also reacted in such away with his wife, he always has to be in be in command of the people, their feelings and the possessions around him. Next, the poem contains brackets with extra points. This information did not need to be included; these comments may just be extra points at which he reveals more than he intends to the audience. ...read more.

Conclusion

'My Last Duchess' ends as abruptly as it began. The poem began in a fashion as it the reader knew everything that proceeded that moment. As the audience we learn a lot from the way the poem ends, 'me' shows the focus and the Dukes prioerty; himself. I also think that 'me is used as an echo from the first line, 'my', this choice of language accentuates the idea that this man cares mainly about the materialistic things in life. In 'My Last Duchess', the Duke says in a straight forward manner what he wants to say. He does not use metaphors or similes to add affect to his emotions but he uses language that is simple that symbolises himself so it is more like a conversation. We get the idea that the poem is more like a conversation from the way it is written, there are no verses and only one person, the Duke speaks, thins also shows his domination. All lines in 'My Last Duchess' have a ten beat rhythm to give the poem a flowing and a racing pace. Through out the poem there are rhyming couplets 'wall' and 'call'. I believe this gives the poem an artistic image which suits the status of the Duke. ...read more.

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