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Please critique my English Lit comparison between Ozymandias and My last duchess Watch

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    Please critique my English Lit comparison between Ozymandias and My last duchess:
    The poem’s Ozymandias and My last Duchess, are both different yet similar poems, and have one major similarity between them both- the theme of power and how it is presented. The poem, ‘Ozymandias’ presents the theme of power as something that is most definitely temporary and how it does not last forever; although many powerful people may wish to think their power is immortal, they are only deceiving themselves. The fact that power is not immortal is portrayed in the poem when it quotes, ‘nothing beside remains’ and ‘boundless and bare’. These quotes are talking about the great power in which Rameses (Ozymandias) used to behold and that now all that power is forgotten and non-existent, through the use of adjectives and verbs.
    On the other hand, the poem ‘My Last Duchess’ presents the theme of power as the man (Duke) wanting and having all the power over the woman (duchess); not only this but to have as much power over anyone. This is portrayed many times throughout the course of the poem, firstly in the title, ‘My’ Last Duchess. By using the possessive pronoun ‘my’ this implies that the Duke who believes he owns the Duchess and she is part of his property rather than a person who is on equal terms with him, which is what she should be. This is also portrayed in the poem when the Duke says, ‘how shall I say?’ this is a rhetorical question used to persuade us as the reader to try and think as he does, by telling us his thoughts to certain questions. He is saying this as in implying, ‘of course you would agree’.
    In both poems, they take different forms and structure that suit the poem and link in to the themes and context of the poem. Firstly, in the poem ‘Ozymandias’, the sonnet form in which Shelley uses is a mix between both the Petrarchan sonnet and the Shakespearean sonnet. The poem has a similar rhyming pattern to the Shakespearean sonnet, but on the other hand also is structured into an octave and sestet, in which the octave presents the reader with details about Ozymandias and the sestet describes how Ozymandias’ power went; like a Petrarchan sonnet. This helps Shelley to reflect the theme of the poem which is that power is not eternal; before this poem most were structures into one of these types of sonnets exactly and this always happened. However by mixing the two sonnet types, Shelly is therefore creating a new one, this shows that even the power of a sonnet type which everybody uses doesn’t last forever and that new things take their place.
    On the other hand, in the poem, ‘My last Duchess’, there is a very different form and structure to portray the specific theme of the poem. Firstly, throughout the entire poem, at the end of each line there are rhyming couplets. For example in the first two lines it says, ‘That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall, looking as if she were alive I call’. These rhyming couplets throughout give a sense of pace and rhythm throughout the poem. They help link to the theme as the rhyme is very controlled- which links into how controlling the Duke is generally and over his wife, and echoes the Duke’s masculine need to control. Also the structured form is elegant which suits the Duke’s status.
    In each poem, the way the authors intend to talk about the subject is a massive contrast and extremely different. Firstly, in ‘Ozymandias’ the first four words, ‘I met a traveller’ are used instantly by Shelley in order to detach himself from story which is being told. He wants to make the point immediately that the poem is not an open criticism of the British monarchy or of religion; however the poem is clearly a thin veiled attack. This also links in with the context of the poem- because Shelley wrote the poem during the reign of King George III, who was involved in a large number of military conflicts around the world, and Shelley did not like this, however to be able to still write about how he felt and not get punished for it (very common in the time of Shelley, may have been killed for it) by detaching himself from the poem. The poem is also an iambic pentameter and contains enjambment.
    On the other hand, in ‘My Last Duchess’, the Duke is talking about himself the whole way throughout the poem, which means that the poem is a dramatic monologue. As a result of this we are able to see the self-importance of the Duke, which is also shown within the possessive pronouns throughout. The speaker is clearly distinct from the poet and this gives the reader the impression that a poet hasn’t written this, rather this is a direct account transcripted of the duke himself speaking. This creates the sense of an audience being present, even though there isn’t one. The fact that the reader can feel that the duke is speaking directly to them makes what he says seem even more powerful, this clever use of a dramatic monologue by Browning evidently creates a sense of power. Again this poem is also written in iambic pentameter.
    In both poems, they are similar in the way the main person that is talking/being talked about was/is cruel, nasty and evil. Firstly in ‘Ozymandias’ this is shown in the quote ‘whose frown, and wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command’. Here, there is a plethora of deeply negative language to portray Ozymandias through adjectives and verbs; also in ‘cold command’, there is an alliterative repetition of the harsh ‘c’ sound to reflect the harsh nature of Ozymandias. It also shows that Ozymandias was a cruel leader as he abused his power, leading on to the reader he was most likely a dictator in his ancient kingdom.
    Similarly, within ‘My Last Duchess’, the Duke just like Ozymandias is shown to have abused his power. This is mainly shown through the concept that the Duke did in fact kill the Duchess. We know this because it says, ‘then all smiles stopped together’; this is very blunt language, and could imply that the Duchess no longer smiles as the Duke has killed her. This shows to such a degree what an evil man the Duke is and this is further implied due to the fact that the Duchess didn’t do anything wrong. The Duke just did not like her looking at other people shown in the quote, ‘she looked on, and her looks went everywhere’. This shows how the Duke is very self-conscious and paranoid, because the quote shows that it is the friendly behavior of the Duchess that really irritates him because it elevates others to his equal power and authority. From the poem we can also tell that the Duke is a bad speaker- ‘even had you skill in speech (which I have not)’, this also tells us that he can lie easily and is most certainly not a man to be trusted.
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    This is worth an A
    It is structured right and well developed but you need more quotes and more specific analysis to get it to an A*
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    (Original post by YA5MIN)
    This is worth an A
    It is structured right and well developed but you need more quotes and more specific analysis to get it to an A*
    Thank you very much for your feedback, I will try and do what you have said, however would really appreciate an example of a more specific analysis I could use
    Thanks,
    Dan
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    (Original post by DanShort)
    Thank you very much for your feedback, I will try and do what you have said, however would really appreciate an example of a more specific analysis I could use
    Thanks,
    Dan
    I don't have my notes or the poems with me at the moment but in Ozymandias it finishes with something like "stretch far away" talking about the desert saying how it is vast and will survive far longer than the broken statue. You could then further it my suggesting it represents the universe and how life is temporary in comparison to time. This isn't a great example but it sort of shows the depth in which you need to go to push it up to an A*. Just make assumptions and suggestions - nothing you say is wrong if you support it.
 
 
 
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