The Themes Of Love And Loss In My Last Duchess, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, When We Two Parted, And Villegiature

2586 words - 10 pages

The Themes of Love and Loss in My Last Duchess, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, When we Two Parted, and Villegiature
Works Cited Missing

The poems, 'My Last Duchess', 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' and 'When We
Two Parted' and 'Villegiature' by Robert Browning (1812-1889), John
Keats (1795-1821), Lord Byron (1788-1824) and Edith Nesbit (1858-1924)
respectively, have all been written in the nineteenth century. All
these poems deal with the different aspects of love and the different
attitudes of lovers towards their beloved, after parting or during
times away from each other (Villegiature).

Browning's 'My Last Duchess' shows the possessive and dominant type of
love where the Duke, who is speaking throughout the poem, looks upon
his wife as an object and treats her in the same way. Though this poem
has been written in 1842, the action takes place in the Middle Ages
and the inferiority associated with women in those times has been
clearly brought out. In the first line of the poem itself the Duke
says, "That's my last Duchess painted on the wall," conveying his
'object-like' treatment of her. Later in the monologue he says "But to
myself they turned (since none puts by/ The curtain I have drawn for
you, but I)" which again proves the previous point. Moreover, the fact
that the poem starts with "my" and ends with "me" in itself speaks for
the overbearing and possessive personality of the Duke. This
controlling aspect of love is shown in Keats's ballad as well, where
the knight says, "They cried-'La Belle Dame sans Merci/Hath thee in
thrall!'" This woman, who has power over all the "pale kings and
princes too/Pale warriors," easily dominates over them, conveying the
idea that love enslaves and it is an all-domineering feeling. What the
poets could be trying to show is how love can, at times, have such
control over a person's actions that he/she is unable to control
his/her actions and moves according to his/her partner's 'commands'.
But, what people in such relationships fail to realise until it is too
late is the downside to this sort of relationship, not only for the
'dominated', but also for the 'dominating', as such an obsession with
ruling over another eventually led the Duke to murder his wife. Though
most people would not have taken as drastic a measure as the Duke, the
poet probably uses such a negatively powerful result to emphasize on
the harmful aspects of such a relationship. Also, this poem follows a
strict rhyme scheme and has a conversational rhythm. It is written in
iambic pentameter, which probably conveys the conflict within himself
between what he says and what he really is - a murderer! Furthermore,
this sort of communion does not hold many positive aspects for the
partner who lets himself/herself be controlled by the other either. In
'La Belle Dame Sans Merci', the knight says,...

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