English Draft – 28.06.11
Explore the ways in which the central character is presented in the chosen poems.
The Hunchback in the park
My last duchess
The River god
My last duchess, by Robert Browning is an example of a dramatic monologue. Throughout the poem you are being spoken to by the Duke. Browning has captured an authentic speaking voice. The syntax is manipulated by the author in order to create a conversational tone. “My Last Duchess" is in iambic pentameter, which has ten syllables. The ten syllables consist of five pairs of unstressed and stressed syllables. Lines 1 and 2 of the poem demonstrate the iambic-pentameter pattern.This poem is telling a story, the title of this poem reveals that the speaker, a duke, is referring to his last wife. The story of this poem perhaps has a historical allusion: a reference to a similar occurrence in history (including the duke of ferrara). The duke is speaking to envoy his first wife who is apparently dead. From what he is telling him, we can conclude that he is arrogant, domineering and very insecure in relationships. “There she stands as if alive”. He tells the agent that she looks as she was alive and her smiles stopped at his command, which would be seen as a direct admission of murder. He tells the messenger about his displeasure towards his last wife in order to make clear expectations for his future wife.
Browning uses many techniques to present the central character, including a simple rhyme scheme, enjambment and caesura to exemplify various characteristics and deceptions of the Duke. He uses an AA BB rhyme scheme, which is commonly seen in ballads and songs. This may be that the poet was trying to create a melodious conversation. This enhances the irony of speaker, which the duke later on comments the he does not have skill in speech (lines 35-36) The emjambed lines show us that the duke is putting pressure on the conversation.
This is similar to “Ozymandias” beacuse The first-person...