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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 2437 words

Compare and Contrast the Poems My Last Duchess and Salome

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the Poems "My Last Duchess" and "Salome" The poem "My Last Duchess" was written by a famous 19th century poet called Robert Browning. "Salome", on the other hand, is a modern 20th century poem written by Carol Ann Duffy. Both poems focus on the topic of killing lovers, but the two poets take different attitudes towards this. The narrator of Browning's poem tries to justify his actions throughout the poem and is trying to convince someone. Carol Ann Duffy writes the poem about Salome and what she has done, and does not try to explain her reasoning behind her actions. Both poems are dramatic monologues aimed towards different people. Robert Browning's poem is about a man, who has given orders to have his wife killed because he thinks that she is having an affair. The title "My Last Duchess" suggests that his wife is dead or gone. This is because it talks about her in the past tense using the word "last" to create emphasis that makes this point more noticeable. These three words are repeated in the first line to give further emphasis and give the reader a clue that this will be important to remember throughout the poem. ...read more.

Middle

which will make people want to read the rest of the poem to find out what it is that she has done. It seems like she is saying something completely normal, and that what she had done wasn't very shocking or outrageous. We later find out that she is talking about getting drunk and killing a man by chopping his head off. This is very shocking and is not something that the audience would see as being normal. The biggest clue that she has killed someone is when the narrator says, "Which I kissed... colder than pewter." This is because she is kissing a mouth which is as cold as metal. As humans are warm-blooded, the only way a man's lips could be this cold is if they were dead. This would shock the audience because she says it in a very calm and relaxed way. She says "Which I kissed", which is her saying that she kissed a dead body. This is a form of necrophilia. The writer did not put any emphasis on these lines. This shows that it is normal to this person. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both of the people have something to offer to the victims. In "My Last Duchess" he gave the victims his surname and in "Salome" she seduced the victims. In both of the poems, the victims are described but the reader never finds out their names. This gives the impression that the victim's identity was not important in either of the poems. In "My Last Duchess" it constantly refers to the victim as "she" or "her". This could mean that he is destroying her identity, just as he destroyed her life. In this poem it only describes her personality and attitudes, but in "Salome" it only describes the victim's appearance. An example of this is "beautiful crimson mouth". This is showing that she does not care about a man's personality - she only cares about how he looks. Neither poem describes killing someone as a difficult thing. This is to show how much power these people had and how it can affect the people around them. Similar poetic techniques are used in both poems, such as similes, metaphors and alliteration. These techniques are used to create a cold atmosphere in both poems to try to appeal to the reader. It also creates tension which will make the reader want to find out more information about the situation. ...read more.

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