This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Comparing Social Norms In My Last Duchess By Robert Browning And Ulysses By Alfred Tennyson

1215 words - 5 pages

When one travels, it is easy to observe differences in social norms from country to country. One may also observe differences within a country, for example, the social norms of a small town or village versus those of a large metropolis. Differences in social norms can also be observed in literature. This essay will focus on two dramatic monologues, which were written by poets who lived in England during the same period. Robert Browning published My last Duchess in 1842, the same year that Alfred Tennyson published Ulysses. Both poets lived in England during the Victorian era. However, by examining characters from their poetry, namely Alfonso in My Last Duchess and Odysseus in Ulysses, we can see that they express opposite norms concerning controlling power, change, form and death.

“E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, whene'er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together” (Line 42-46) (Browning 714). This implies that Alfonso can't sand his wife's behavior, which leads him to kill her. He doesn't want to stoop for her, which means he doesn't want to give in to her to gain her attention in that way. Instead of being nice to her, he chooses to affect his power over her, a power he is afraid to lose. Yet even after he kills her, he keeps her picture, and covers it with the curtain. This is his way of putting her in her place, a prison of sorts, in which he chooses when and to whom she will ever smile again. Then he says to the servant of the Count of Tyrol “the curtain I have drawn for you” and he shows the picture to him. From Alfonso’s words, we can tell that he is satisfied with this action because he has the authority to show her to someone, or not to (Line 10) (Browning 714). By showing off he proves his constant need to be in control of his own. In contrast, Tennyson’s Odysseus doesn't cling to the power, even though he has his own kingdom, which allows him to control his people. Instead, he chooses to “leave the sceptre and the isle” to his son, Telemachus (Line 34) (Tennyson 645). Then he says, “When I am gone. [Telemachus] works his works” (Line 43) (Tennyson 645). For this, he has no hesitation to lose his power over people.

“[He] cannot rest from travel: [He] will drink Life to the less: all times [he has] enjoyed Greatly, [has] a suffered greatly” (Line 6-8) (Tennyson 645). Odysseus feels comfort from going around in his past, but now he can’t feel it from unchanged things like staying only in his island to do almost same thing every day. As he says that “how dull it is to pauses,” resting from his journey is not a great moment for him (Line 22) (Tennyson 645). As we can expect, he should live in luxury more than the other people in his country because he is a kind. But, he expresses that as “to rust unburnished, not to shine in use” (Line 23) (Tennyson 645). Life that he is away from...

Find Another Essay On Comparing Social Norms in My Last Duchess by Robert Browning and Ulysses by Alfred Tennyson

My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

2207 words - 9 pages .” Scholars. 1.18 (Summer, 2012): Web. Adler, Joshua. “Structure and Meaning in Browning’s ‘My Last Duchess.” Victorian Poetry. 15.3 (Autumn, 1977) 219-227. Web. Browning, Robert. “My Last Duchess.” The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Fourth Edition. Ed. David Damrosch and Kevin J.H. Dettmar. New York: Pearson, 2010. 1328- 1331. Print.

"My Last Duchess" By Robert Browning

786 words - 3 pages Robert Browning is known as the Master of Psychological dramatic monologue. In "My last Duchess" the reader only hears the Duke's story whose perverse point of view throws false accusations towards his recently deceased wife. What the reader knows about the characters is limited, so he must piece together the story on his own. The story the duke thinks he tells, of an unfaithful wife who offended his dignity, and the story he really tells, of

My Last Duchess and Porphyrias Lover by Robert Browning

1316 words - 5 pages ," Robert Browning conveys two distinct portraits depicting the love shared between two people. The qualities of beauty, selfishness, and jealousy appear in both poems. In both works, the author explores the hidden influence death has upon the relationship shared by two lovers. In "My Last Duchess," the speaker describes a specific painting to the reader. It is a portrait of the Duke's late wife. The speaker directs the reader's attention to

My Last Duchess and Porphyria’s Lover by Robert Browning

550 words - 2 pages My Last Duchess and Porphyria’s Lover by Robert Browning In the two poems there is a lot of ‘dramatic monologue’ where the writer is showing his personal his personal feelings in the poem. It is also classified when a single person is talking and asking questions with no reply like in ‘The Last Duchess’ the Duke is talking to the servant about his past wife but all the servant is interested in is whether the Duke will marry the Count’s

"My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning

597 words - 2 pages Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" are two poems that are dramatic monologues that depict a disturbing story. Even though the speaker's attitude between the husband and wife were different in each poem, both the duke and the lover are unable to deal with their feelings realistically or properly. The duke and the lover disregard the women's feelings and physical well being in favor of their own selfish love. The two

Jealousy and Self-Love in My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

541 words - 2 pages Robert Browning's dramatic poem "My Last Duchess" defines how extremely a person may lose touch with reality, as a result of jealousy and self-love.  This central thought is achieved through an aristocrat's conversation with a visitor concerning a painting of his ex-wife; within the conversation, the aristocrat--Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara--reveals that he has been a key figure in the murder of his late wife.  The Duke's sense of reality and

An Analysis of My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

695 words - 3 pages An Analysis of My Last Duchess by Robert Browning “My Last Duchess” is written as a dramatic monologue, which is a poem that is read as if on stage, talking to an audience or character in a play. This method of writing has been used because the poem wants to give one perspective, the Duke’s, in an effective manner. By using this technique, Browning is also silencing the antagonist, the Duchess, and becoming the protagonist. The rhyming

Analysis of My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

1169 words - 5 pages My Last Duchess by Robert Browning is a dramatic monologue about a duke who is showing the portrait of his first wife, the duchess, to a servant of his future father-in-law, the Count. In a dramatic monologue, the speaker addresses a distinct but silent audience. Through his speech, the speaker unintentionally reveals his own personality. As such, in reading this poem, the reader finds the duke to be self-centered, arrogant, controlling

Mrs. Kingshaw Monologue from My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

2231 words - 9 pages Mrs. Kingshaw Monologue from My Last Duchess by Robert Browning Introduction This is a monologue from Mrs. Kingshaw. This monologue has been written to express Mrs. Kingshaws feelings about her son, Charles, in comparison to her feelings about her stepson Edmund Hooper. This monologue has bee written under the inspiration of a poem named, ‘My Last Dutches’ by Robert Browning. I will try to use some of the skills

Reflections on "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning

701 words - 3 pages #1Reflection on "My Last Duchess"The speaker is notably a snobbish, childish, and indifferent Duke. He does not seem to have any remorse for his murder of his "Duchess" and remains arrogantly steadfast to his justification that his murder was for the cause of her (the Duchess's) "too soon made glad" by other men, and her smiles to everyone who passed. He describes her as if she was just another distant thing in the past, and disregards the

"Ulysses" by Alfred Tennyson - poem

896 words - 4 pages real life. With age comes experience with different problems and situations and with experience comes wisdom. The challenges and life experiences that Ulysses endured and conquered developed his character and heroic attributes which is a belief that most people still harbour in this day and age.In this poem, Lord Tennyson expresses a message that Ulysses has communicated throughout his travels and adventures; he still would like to seek more

Similar Essays

A Comparison Of 'my Last Duchess' By Robert Browning And 'ulysses' By Alfred Lord Tennyson

1078 words - 4 pages A Comparison of 'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning and 'Ulysses' by Alfred Lord Tennyson 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

Comparing My Last Duchess And Porphyria's Lover By Robert Browning

1113 words - 4 pages Comparing My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning These poems by Robert Browning were written in the Victorian era. The Victorians from the outlook seemed to live on high standards and rules, but underneath they craved for scandal and gossip. Robert Browning gave this to them through his poems. They were filled with adultery, passion, sexual tension and murder

My Last Duchess By Robert Browning Analysis

3172 words - 13 pages My Last Duchess by Robert Browning is a poem that takes place during the Renaissance, in which the reader can conclude that the speaker punishes his last wife for asserting her natural sexuality, due to the fact of the Duke’s evident jealousy and his controlling possessive nature. Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess is one of the most famous dramatic monologues; his use of the soliloquy is essential because it reveals the speaker’s characteristic

My Last Duchess By Robert Browning

1117 words - 4 pages Power and Control in My Last Duchess by Robert Browning Power is the ability of an individual or group to influence the behavior of others through manipulation, coercion, persuasion, or domination. It is the possession of authority over others and the degree of influence that an individual or individuals have amongst their peers and within society as a whole. Therefore, the possession of power allows for the imposition of one’s will in a given