• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

comapring and contrasting pre 1940's poems

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Comaparing & Contrasting Poems Both of the poems, 'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning and 'Ulysses' by Alfred Lord Tennyson, are examples of dramatic monologues, in that they solely consist of the speech of the protagonist. As a result, they have few or, in the case of 'My Last Duchess', only one stanza. Many enjambed lines and many irregularities in the basic form of iambic pentameter also hide the rhyming couplets in this poem. 'My Last Duchess' is set in Renaissance Italy and is the Duke of Ferrara talking to a servant of his prospective father-in-law, about a painting of his former wife. The narrator of 'Ulysses' is the man in the title, an Ancient Greek hero, talking about his loathing of his regal position and his wish to travel again before his impending death. Although they are both powerful men talking about their pasts, there are noticeable differences between the two poems, both in the protagonists themselves and the poetic devices used to present them. One of the clearest differences between Ferrara and Ulysses is the source of their power, and the kind of power that they wield. Ferrara's power comes from his 'nine-hundred-years-old-name', that is, his position as the ruler of one of the many city states that make up the present-day nation of Italy. This was a position he was born into-not one which he earned. He obviously puts great value on his inherited status, as he refers to it as a 'gift' and objected when his wife did not consider it more precious than the gifts that other people gave to her. ...read more.

Middle

Interestingly one of the major similarities between the two protagonists is that they have both killed. However, they have exterminated people in very different ways. Ulysses homicide would, in the eyes of Ancient Greece, have been seen as heroic. He has battled on the 'ringing plains of windy Troy'. 'Ringing' is an onomatopoeia and combined with 'windy' gives a real sense of the frantic conflict on a desolate battlefield, with the sounds of swords crashing together. It was out of his ability as a warrior that his fame and heroism was born, and he enjoyed this sort of admiration. Conversely, the Duke of Ferrara's killing was not heroic. It was not even personal, as he himself did not even wield the axe. He just 'gave commands;' and the job was done for him. The way in which he expresses it tells us a lot. Firstly, all he had to do was give commands, he knew that there was no question of them not being obeyed. Also, he is obeying etiquette by referring to the execution in this way. In the highly formal world of Renaissance Italy, it would have been incredibly bad mannered to talk about killing someone. It was much better to dress it up in euphemisms. The semi colon that shortly follows the reference to the execution not only finishes off an end-stop line emphasising the word 'commands', but it also shows that there is a caesura. The Duke pauses slightly as if to dwell on the unpleasant episode in his past. ...read more.

Conclusion

The use of the image of an arch also implies that once one has gone through experience, one emerges as something different at the other side. This metaphor is mirrored by another, which harks back to Ulysses' days in battle. He says that to stay still and not to use your life is like a sword left 'To rust unburnished', whereas to travel and strive for knowledge is making the sword 'shine in use'. The contrast between the light of 'shine' and the dullness of 'rust' shows how much travelling is, in Ulysses' opinion, better than a sedentary existence. Tennyson also uses assonance to show the unknown aspect of the ocean that so draws Ulysses. When looking towards the ocean, Ulysses tells the reader 'There gloom the dark, broad seas'. The assonance emphasises the vast unexplored expanse of the ocean. The language is also quite dark recognising how the sea can be a dangerous evil as well as a friend in the quest for knowledge. I think that 'Ulysses' is the more successful, because I find the imagery far more emotive and vivid. 'My Last Duchess' was too lacking in emotion and I thought that it could have worked equally well, if not better, as a simple speech and not as a poem at all. Whereas I enjoyed the interesting perspective that Tennyson took, looking back on the travels of Ulysses, rather than describing them as has so often been done before. It was also a very powerful image - that of a man who has realised that he has little time left, but who is going to make sure that he does not waste his last days. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Comparing poems section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Comparing poems essays

  1. How are the relationships between men and women represented in "My Last Duchess", "First ...

    It is set in Italy and all the events happen in the Duke's mansion or castle. The poem is not being read, but spoken in the form of enjambment. This is like a story but the Duke's thoughts are not completed within the line, instead they carry on to the next line.

  2. My Last Duchess and La Belle Dame Sans Merci Comparison

    This is in stark contrast to the more conversational, but still fiercer style of the first poem. Conclusively, the power dynamics explored in the first poem are far more diverse, and it appears that there are much more powerful

  1. Discuss Merle Hodge'S Crick Crack Monkey As a Novel

    colonialist world view that nothing appears to exist resembling even remnants of a Caribbean identity." makes Tee feel aware of her color and of her clothes as compared to her colonized cousins. When Tee had gone to Aunt Beatrice's place the first time, she used to beat up her cousins

  2. Comparing and Contrasting Poems

    Ezekiel and Rafat both criticise the traditions that are sustained by the people of the community by using disparaging words. In 'Night of the Scorpion' Ezekiel looks down upon the people of the community - the same community to which many lines show he belongs- and calls them 'swarms of

  1. Compare "Sonnet" and "No second Troy"

    that she misses him all year round and that she still loves him. I believe that Edna St Vincent Millay is obsessed with him, a good example of this is, "But last years bitter loving must remain Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide" Thins is a great

  2. Compare and Contrast the way the poets(TM) present the relationship between men and women ...

    The two poems are different in the way that in 'To His Coy Mistress' it is never revealed whether they made love or not, yet in 'The Beggar Woman' we know how it ends, and it ends with a fantastic twist.

  1. Compare and contrast two poems, My last duchess and Porpyria's Lover

    This is different to 'My last Duchess' because The Duchess is the Dukes possession, just look at the title "My Last Duchess", he owns her, she is the Dukes possession. The next theme I am going to discuss is Power, In 'Porphyria's Lover' the power switches from Porphyria to her lover.

  2. Discuss the Reasons Browning(TM)s Characters Have for Murdering Their Victims

    'So glad it has its utmost will.' The women in Porphyria's Lover and My Last Duchess are both quite innocent and Browning makes the reader have sympathy with them. The women in both poems are portrayed as too independent for the males liking.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work