Hjljljlk Essay

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In ‘Medusa’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ their central characters have some remarkable similarities that represent a common theme. In each of the poems, both Medusa and the Duke of Ferrara represent the danger of power as they are both driven by jealousy to use their power to corrupt. The poets use strong language, a clear structure and harsh sounds to present the strength and power of both the characters.
Carol Ann Duffy shows how the jealousy of Medusa turned her into a powerful monster through the quote, ’turned the hairs on my head to filthy snakes’. Medusa's transformation into monster becomes a metaphor for the power of jealousy to corrupt. The theme of jealousy is shown in the rule of three on the first line: 'a suspicion, a doubt, a jealousy'. The rule of three evokes a growing tension and the fact that the word ‘jealousy’ is placed at the end of the line suggests that it is the strongest emotion she is feeling. She says later it was 'as though' her thoughts 'hissed and spat on her scalp.' .The reader can infer that her thoughts sound like a snake hissing which gives the impression that they are angry and dangerous. Also, the fact that the snakes were actually coming out of her head suggest that there were evil thoughts of jealousy coming out her head. The assonance in ‘hissed’ and the onomatopoeia of ‘spat’ emphasises the powerful, menacing tone of the poem. The structure is regular: six lines per stanza and each one perfectly end-stopped but the line length is as jagged like the mood. The rhymes, when they come, are out of step, as in stanza three where 'own' rhymes with 'stone' and in four where 'ground' only half-rhymes with 'down' - echoing the colloquial phrase 'ground down' showing how emotionally exhausted she is. The combined regular and irregular structures create a violent stop and start feel, as if Medusa is spitting out her thoughts. The lists of rhetorical questions at the end of the poem add to the rapid-fire effect - of questions that need no answer. This rapid tone reinforces her power and anger
‘My Last Duchess’ is all about the political and social power exerted by the Duke and his attempt to control his marriage in the same way that he rules his lands. Like Medusa, his jealousy lead to him using his power to commit evil deeds. The Duke says that it wasn’t only his presence that brought that ‘spot’ or flush of joy to the Duchess’s cheek and the use of the word spot reveals that the duke feels like her blush is like a flaw or a blemish. The Duke seems to believe that the Duchess chooses to blush or react to compliments and gifts. He describes her as ‘calling up’ her blushes, instead of them being involuntary. And we know that she probably isn’t blushing intentionally, and the Duke’s jealousy is illogical. The Duke wants complete control over her and so he uses his power to extinguish her, ‘all smiles stopped together: I gave commands; There she stands as if alive’. The quote ‘As if alive’ – implies the Duchess is dead...