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Compare and contrast the ways in which the poets' choice of form, language and setting help to convey ideas about the relationships between men and women and the role of woman in societies which are depicted in the poems you have studied.

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Compare and contrast the ways in which the poets' choice of form, language and setting help to convey ideas about the relationships between men and women and the role of woman in societies which are depicted in the poems you have studied. In this essay I am going to compare four poems: 1. The Lady of Shallot - Alfred Lord Tennyson 2. My Last Duchess - Robert Browning 3. La Belle Dame Sans Merci - John Keats 4. To his Coy Mistress - Andrew Marvell The connecting theme of all the poems is that are all written about a woman in love or who is loved by someone else. With the exception of To his Coy Mistress, I would say they are all tragic poems as The Lady of Shallot and My Last Duchess end in death and La Belle Dame Sans Merci has a tragic ending too. The poems all discuss the subject of love. In some of the poems it is written as lust and this brings up the question of how does one ascertain what love truly is? Do we all have the same views and ideas about it? The dictionary defines love as "a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and a feeling of intense desire or attraction toward a person. The emotion of sex and romance..." From this I can say that all these poets seem to have different views of love. ...read more.


But in The Lady of Shallot, the man in the poem - Sir Lancelot - is not even aware of the Lady till the end of the poem. In all these poems, the women seem to be the main focus of the men's lives and the men are the main focus of the poems. In The Lady of Shallot, the Lady lives her life locked away in a tower, locked away from everyday society. The curse affects her more than she realises which in turn makes her crave a normal lifestyle and the mirror becomes almost like a gateway to the life she craves so much. This can be compared to To his Coy Mistress where the woman is placed on a higher platform and watched from afar by society. "That long-preserved virginity." Society seemed to love these females but they did not seem to want to associate with them. They admired the fact that they are well bred and were of the upper class but they pushed them away - to preserve their purity perhaps. Continuing with The Lady of Shallot, one day Sir Lancelot walks past her tower and she instantly falls in love with him. He is dazzling and free and her enchants her so much that "she look'd down to Camelot." This brings about the curse put upon her, "Out flew the web and floated wide, The mirror crack'd from side to side." ...read more.


The men seem decide things for them as they are seen as socially inferior. Each poem has some form of rhyming. In The Lady of Shallot, there are nine lines in each stanza and there are nineteen stanzas which are presented in four parts. In each stanza lines one to four always rhyme, lines six to eight always rhyme and then lines five and nine rhyme with each other. The rhyming patterns of lines five and nine are especially interesting. The last word of line five or nine is always Camelot, Shallot or Lancelot and this always brings the reader back to the main subject. My Last Duchess and To his Coy Mistress both use rhyming couplets. It is a very strict rhyming pattern and it emphasises the strictness and predictability of the Duke in My Last Duchess and it emphasises the serious undertone in To his Coy Mistress. It shows that the male really means what he says even though at times it might sound amusing. The meaning behind all these poems is really that love is somewhat of an obscure thing. It is an extremely hard thing to find unrequited love and once found, if it is ever truly found, it is hard to keep. For how does one actually define love? Is it possible to define it properly? These are all questions addressed by the poem and each poem answers them in the own style of the author. Indira Birnie 11.1/T.G. 11.2 ...read more.

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