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

My Last Duchess and La Belle Dame Sans Merci Comparison

Extracts from this document...


My Last Duchess and La Belle Dame Sans Merci are two poems that explore a wide range of power dynamics that result from love. Patriarchal power is a key theme that is explored in these two poems, with conflicting views on each. La Belle Dame sans Merci tells of a sorry tale of how a knight, a typically powerful figure, is cast away by a woman who had no love for him. This theme is almost mirrored in the other poem; however the other poem, My Last Duchess seems to exert a more male perspective, focusing more on patriarchal power. A women to Her Lover, seems to be a blend of the two poetic styles of the previous two poems, as it both states the various patriarchal powers, and then proceeds to tear down these beliefs, and also tear down the conventions which were typically seen as the norm of the day. The title of the poem is typically an indicator of what to expect from the poem, and in what vein it will be written. My Last Duchess is no exception as it immediately gives the reader a sense that the narrator, The Duke, see's his late wife as a possession. He refers to her with the possessive pronoun 'My' to try, it appears; to regain a certain degree of control over her. This wanting of control is further explored when he says that 'The curtain I have drawn for you,' which portrays the sense that he feels he is the one who is giving others the right to see his wife. ...read more.


This power is quite strong as it is unavoidable, and can have an effect on his love for the woman as he may ponder on the relationship more. However, this is only one power dynamic that may have an effect on his love for the woman, and his overall love outlook. This power is far less prominent in 'My Last Duchess' with the atmosphere merely created through the dramatic monologue. Also, the main atmosphere is created through the ranting of the Duke. A woman's power over a man is not often accredited, however it is brought to light in this poem with the woman who he (the knight) see's as a 'faery's child', or in essence a woman with an abundance of beauty. This power of the woman over him may have resulted in him becoming quite 'haggard' and 'woe-begone' meaning his gradual degrading of state, because of his insistence that 'she did love' him, even though he believes she does, although she never explicitly stated those words, and this is backed up later in the poem when he admits she said it in a 'strange' 'language', which he believed said that she 'love[d]' him, even though it was quite plain to see that she did not in fact love him, but was there to be pleasured. This shows that the woman used her power to manipulate what was the result. However, another power that is used to some extent, is matriarchal power, on a more philosophical sense, as the knight imagines the lady wearing a 'garland' that could be seen as him trying to believe that the 'sacred' woman is still angelic, however, this is contradicted when he describes her as 'wild' and that he could only 'shut her eyes with kisses four'. ...read more.


This is clever because it sticks in the person's mind, and creates a stronger argument. The technique of enjambment is similar to the first poem, where it manages to create a conversational style so as to appear to converse with the other messenger, while realistically the Duke isn't very sociable. However, none of these literary techniques are echoed in the second poem, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, which is probably due to the problem of both being written in completely different styles, with one being a more sorrowful poem, and the other being a more commanding and endearing poem. Conclusively, the three poems all share a variety of power dynamics that are all explored. The most common theme was that of which gender was more dominant and which gender was controlled. This was mostly explored in 'My Last Duchess' and 'A woman to her lover'. Inevitably this led on to the topic of equality, and it is in this way that egalitarian power was brought to light. Even 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' explored how the woman and the man were both equal as they could both enter and leave the relationship as they did please. However, poetic techniques were used to further enhance the message of the poem; with all the poems using a different poetic technique to enhance and improve it's delivery of different love and power dynamics. In the end, the power of love seemed to encompass all the poems, as all three showed how love took control of the. ?? ?? ?? ?? Coursework Power Dynamics In The Two Love Poems Due 05 February, 2009 Sakib Ahmed 10U ...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 ...

    The Duke may have personally killed her, or paid someone else to do his work. "All smiles stopped together". If the Duke did kill the Duchess this may be because he was jealous of her behaviour towards other men. The Duke obviously did not like her behaviour, if he'd stoop as low to kill her.

  2. Debate about the rightful ownership of Australian land through the comparison of

    The use of first person point of view, to represent the deeply held views of the persona, is powerful because Australians don't often hear the views of the marginalized Aboriginal culture. It creates a sense of directness and intimacy between the persona and the reader and immediately implicates the white

  1. my last duchess

    In The Laboratory the rhyme scheme is AABB. It rhymes when read aloud because its couplets. "NOW that I, tying thy glass mask tightly, May gaze thro' these faint smokes curling whitely, As thou pliest thy trade in this devil's-smithy - Which is the poison to poison her, prithee?"

  2. Clash of cultures coursework

    and are bound to see things from different views, the young man and his wife are both from the same culture and are married to each other, giving the reader the impression that they should be able to relate to each other more than anyone else.

  1. Poetry Coursework

    This is typical of wealthy, high status Renaissance men. The Duke is shown as commanding, attentive and very arrogant. The imagery in this poem produces the desired haunting effect. The painting of the Duchess will always live long after her death, as men will continue to look and admire the

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

    This alienation process is depicted through the fact that Tee has to move from an Antillean culture to a supposedly European culture: "In this novel Merle Hodge presents the process of alienation by depicting Tee's transition from a typical Antillean tradition to that of a pseudo-European culture."

  1. Use the concept of transculturation to explore 'Our Sister Killyjoy' and 'Nervous Conditions.'

    where she very quickly realises 'that someone somewhere would always see in any kind of difference, an excuse to be mean.13' In Sissie's case she is the foreign element that is to induce change in order for transculturation to occur.

  2. porphrias lover and my last duchess

    'all her hair, in one yellow string I wound three times her little throat around, and strangled her.' The quote reveals the murder at present and also tells the audience how the 'lover' killed/immortalised Porphyria (strangles her with her hair.).

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