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

Compare and contrast how the poets create the characters and situations in "My last Duchess" and "Ulysses". Which poem is the most successful and why?

Extracts from this document...


Compare and contrast how the poets create the characters and situations in "My last Duchess" and "Ulysses". Which poem is the most successful and why? These two poems, or monologues, were written by Robert Browning (My last Duchess) and Alfred Lord Tennyson (Ulysses), in the 19th century during the reign of Queen Victoria. Many other influential writers were also born in this period. During this time, Britain's population doubled from 17.5 million to 37 million. Britain was a very powerful nation with a strong economy, and had a very large empire that covered the globe. This brought on an air of pride and confidence. Creature comforts, such as transport, sanitation and housing were improving during this time. More men had the vote than ever before, although women were still not allowed to vote. All was not well however, begging, drunkenness and child exploitation were extremely common. Many people were hypocrites: they said one thing but did another. This period was also one of political unrest. In My Last Duchess, the Duke has power, importance, prominence, wealth and control over his life. ...read more.


The Duke has control over the servant through veiled commands; for example, "Will it please you to sit" is actually a command to sit. In Ulysses the silent listener changes throughout the poem. Some examples of the silent listeners in this poem are his kingdom and his fellow mariners. Robert Browning presents the power of the Duke through his attitude to others. At the beginning of the poem he refers to the "hands" of a monk from the early Tuscan Renaissance, "Fra Pandolf". By referring to only his hands, the duke demotes the monk to the only things that are useful to him, to create the painting of his Duchess. The painting is a possession which he can control, unlike the living Duchess, and he keeps a "curtain" drawn in front of it so that no one but he can see the Duchess. The Duke also mentions "Claus of Innsbruck" who cast "Neptune" "taming a sea-horse" for "me". The emphasis on the word "me" shows that the Duke thinks he has power over famous craftsmen and how he can get them to do what he wants and can control them from all over the world. ...read more.


Ulysses is also a driven person as he talks about "roaming with a hungry heart", showing that it is adventure and discovery that keeps him alive and that he is driven by this. Overall, I think that the poem My Last Duchess was the more successful poem. By successful I mean that it was a more engaging poem and a more satisfying poem to read than Ulysses. My Last Duchess also forms a more successful historical setting and reflects the time period when it was written better than Ulysses. Ulysses, however, has a more interesting plot than My Last Duchess and actually moves, whereas My Last Duchess has a circular plot as the end ties into the beginning of the poem and can, almost, be read without the middle and still make sense. All in all, poetry is not my favorite form of literature, but if I had to pick a poem that I liked best, it would be My Last Duchess due to the fact that it was a more satisfying and engaging poem to read, with many hidden meanings. ?? ?? ?? ?? Matthew Beddow 10C Mrs Blackman Feb. 2006 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Alfred Lord Tennyson 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 AS and A Level Alfred Lord Tennyson essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    Kip, who becomes enmeshed in the idea of Western society and the welcoming community of the villa's inhabitants, even dismisses his hyperawareness of his own racial identity for a time. Ultimately, however, the characters cannot escape from the outside reality that, in wartime, national identity is prized above all else.

  2. Ambition in "The Duchess of Malfi" and "Paradise Lost"

    It is shown that Satan's immortal hatred for God having banished him to h**l, imprisoned for eternity that has stirred his emotions in order to rebel. His "immortal hate" is shown to be the reason for his revenge and continuing his initial ambition to "equal the most high".

  1. Compare and contrast three examples of gothic fiction

    Jekyll became the man who haunted himself. The tragedy of Jekyll was that as himself, he was aware of his id, namely Mr Hyde. His story is one of the best-known doppelganger tales. The tale of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is from one point of view the story of

  2. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost and If Sleep and ...

    Tennyson isolates himself and his heart, unable to comprehend how someone so dear to him can be taken from this earth. He suggests however, that his isolation and sadness is temporary, and that he intends to fall in love or experience companionship again4.

  1. Translations and Things Fall Apart, examine how Friel and Achebe present the issue of ...

    He asked "How did we arrive at this acceptance of 'the fatalistic logic of the unassailable position of English in our literature', in our culture, and in our politics?..." (1995, p. 287) Thiong'o goes on to say that as the bullet is to physical subjugation, "language was the means of spiritual subjugation" (1995, p.

  2. English Lit - How Far is Anne Rice Successful in distancing her characters from ...

    The predominant first-person narrative also helps set a backdrop for the existential elements of Louis' character; he desperately tries to find meaning in his existence, even to the extent of contemplating supernatural entities. The novel doesn't entirely contain Louis' narrative; it also contains a third person narrative at times and the novel opens with it.

  1. Compare and contrast Tennyson and Elliot's use of dramatic monologue in "Ulysses" and "Prufrock"

    He is also more accepting of death and doesn't complain of the affect of old age, he has grown old gracefully. He sees death as the next adventure, it says, "old age hath yet his honour," he possesses a strong will and comes across very determined in the poem.

  2. "How do the authors portray love in their texts?" Macbeth By William Shakespeare, ...

    Over here the argument is the same as before, some will think that she is doing this for the welfare of Macbeth, while others will say she is doing it for fame and titles. Much later on in the play, after Duncan?s murder Macbeth started hallucinating and brought the daggers with him.

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