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My Last Duchess' we experience the view that the male should have the main role in relationships, in 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' we hear of a relationship where the woman is in total control

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What differing views and experiences of male-female relationships do you find in these poems, and how do the poets effectively express them? In the three poems we experience three different views of how male-female relationships should take place. In 'My Last Duchess' we experience the view that the male should have the main role in relationships, in 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' we hear of a relationship where the woman is in total control of the man and has all the power. Finally in 'A Woman to Her Lover' we hear the view that both men and women should have an equal amount of power and no one should be dominant. In 'My Last Duchess' the thoughts of a very possessive and arrogant Duke of Ferrara are shared. He expected his wife to behave in a very conservative manner and wanted her to treat others as inferior. The Duke shows his position of power in the poem by referring to her as; 'My Last Duchess'. The Duke uses the possessive pronoun 'My' which shows that the Duke doesn't want anyone else to enjoy his wife's company and he wants her all to himself. This shows that he has power over his wife as he refers to her as a belonging; it also shows that he is arrogant as well as dominant. Furthermore, we can see that the word 'last' implies that the Duke had previous wives; it also suggests that she is his duchess no more and so something must have happened to her. ...read more.


Although at first 'A Woman to Her Lover' appears to only show the feminist views of relationships, it is in fact in search of equality between the males and females in relationships. 'My Last Duchess' gives the sense that a man has the leading role, and all of the power in any relationship whereas in 'A Woman to Her Lover', the ideas that both men and women should be equal in relationships are uttered. In the first stanza of the poem, we can see that the woman examines how women are typically expected to be by men (as a housewife) the "servant" and "to bear you children". The very fact that she is expressing these phrases in a critical and negative manner implies that she has a resents this idea towards this stereotypical view of women. At the ending of this first stanza, she states; "If that be what you ask, O lover I refuse you!" The use of the refrain here, not only points out her hostility, but also shows that she is interested in someone who shares the same views as her. This is in contrast to the attitude of the Duke, as he only wants a wife that will be inferior rather than an equal. Moreover, we can infer that the woman strongly believes equality is the main factor of a successful relationship even though equality was the very fact why the Duke's relationship ended. We can see that from the beginning of the poem, the woman shows her confident nature; "Do you come to bend me to your will". ...read more.


The imagery used in 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' helps to convey a sense misery, which increases by the use of pathetic fallacy: "The sedge has wither'd from the lake, And no birds sing". The depressing surroundings help to convey to the reader the state that the knight is in, and also the state of his relationship. Furthermore, the fact that; "And no birds sing" has been used stresses the fact that he is deprived of life and happiness. The other main type of imagery used is sensual imagery 'Full beautiful', 'sweet moan', here, Keats allows the reader to build up a picture of the woman which helps the reader to visualise why the knight can be controlled by her. In conclusion, we can see that wherever one individual in the relationship has had more power, whether it has been the man or woman, the relationship has ended in a sad state of affairs. In each poem the relationships are completely different, Browning's poem views women as being inferior to men, Walsh's poem views women and men as being equal and Keats views women as being faery's, having supernatural powers and dominating the man. The main inference among the three poems is that the role of the sexes within a relationship can change, depending upon the characters in the relationships and the amount of power each person does posses. ?? ?? ?? ?? Raja Patel 10L 'A Woman to Her Lover' by Christina Walsh 01/05/2007 Set 6 'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' by John Keats - 1 - ...read more.

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