Shivaay
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#1
Hi guys,
Please can you comment your views on my comparative poetry essays.

Compare the ways poets present the effects of power in ‘Ozymandias’ and one other poem of your choice from the ‘power and conflict’ cluster. [30 MARKS]

“Ozymandias” is a sonnet written in iambic pentameter crafted by Percy Bysshe Shelley. “Ozymandias” is about a traveller stumbling upon Ramses the Second’s (the original ‘Ozymandias’) fallen kingdom.

On the contrary, “My Last Duchess” is a ‘dramatic monologue’ constructed by Robert Browning. The poem is set in Ferrara, Italy – during the middle ages. The poem is based on Duke Alfonso II d’estes Duke of Ferrara and how he gave orders to kill his wife Lucrezia de’Medici. Both “My Last Duchess” and “Ozymandias” are based around pieces of art which the main subject of the poems have commissioned or had produced to order. Both the main characters are men who have used art to display their wealth and power.

In “My Last Duchess” the Duke has had the most famous artist of his day Fra Pandolf paint a picture of his wife. She therefore becomes a kind of possession. In the poem we later learn that the fate of this “last Duchess” was to be killed on her husband’s orders – “I gave commands; then all smiles stopped together.”

In “Ozymandias” Shelley passes on the story told to him by “a traveller from an antique land” of a colossal statue found in the desert, inscribed with the text “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty and despair!” Ironically, this statue is now “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone” and a decapitated “shattered visage”. The point here seems to be that however mighty a ruler might be in life, time and the elements will destroy their legacy, even if their name remains. Perhaps, Shelley was thinking of the most powerful man of his time – Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Emperor as a comparison with the long dead Pharaoh Ramses the second.

“My Last Duchess” begins with the Duke himself speaking in a ‘dramatic monologue’ as Browning named his poems. It seems as if we are eavesdropping on the conversation which is halfway through. It seems conversational and colloquial enough until the Duke utters the phrase “if they durst” suggesting that he has power over people which they do not want to offend. The reader is anxious to know how the Duchess, whose painting is “as if she was alive”, actually died. It increasingly seems that the Duke, along with his power carries jealousy and this surprising insecurity.

On the other hand, the ridicule of Ramses the Second’s “Nothing beside remains.” and “decayed” ancient domain unearths Shelley’s abhorrent views against: undemocratic, tyrannical and oppressive monarchical governments. Perhaps, Shelley was indirectly condemning the English government and King George III under the pretext of writing “Ozymandias”.

Contrarily, the Duchess’s pleasure in everyday things: the “bough of cherries” and “the white mule” is offensive as she values his expensive gifts as only the same: “my favour at her breast”, “my nine hundred year old name”. He regards his jealousy as reasonable for a man of his status and he feels even to discuss it with his wife would be “to stoop” a phrase which implies placing yourself below someone else. He chooses “never to stoop” and instead “gave commands and all smiles stopped” this unquestionably implies he had the Duchess murdered – an appalling admission which he apparently thinks is entirely reasonable. The context of the Middle Ages when Browning set his poem is a time when girls and women were virtually sold by their families and could be dispensed with by their husbands if they did not please them. Even more appallingly, the ingenious structure of Browning’s poem reveals at the end that the visitor the Duke has been addressing throughout is in actual fact an emissary from a Count with whom the Duke is negotiating his next marriage. Clearly the reader fears for the next Duchess, given the fate of the last one! The coldness of the “dowry” negotiations with his “fair daughters self” is clearly appalling. Even more appalling is the everyday, casual manner the Duke then turns to his other possessions; the statue of Neptune.

Whilst the Duke in “My Last Duchess” can continue to abuse his power by taking another bride, we see the arrogance and self-importance will not last forever. Ozymandias’ “wrinkled lip” and brow are now remnants of his faded power, showing that however rich and powerful the man might be there are still the ravages of time – “sic transit gloria mundi” – a Latin proverb widely known in the Victorian era, translating to “Thus passes the glory of the world.”

In “Ozymandias” Shelley presents the effects of power and the loss of power through the rhyme scheme of the sonnet. Initially we are enlightened to a Petrarchan sonnet form, which later translates into a Shakespearean form. We later see the demise of this form as we greet an unknown form of a sonnet. This could be a metaphorical representation of the human existence: power is always lost with death, insinuating that power is intoxicating. Perhaps, Shelley has shown the demise of old power to display the unwillingness towards intransigence; nothing is deemed to be immortal – including Rameses the Second and his power.

Browning uses rhyming couplets for a dramatic monologue, which are skilfully written to seem like speech. This is mainly due to his use of enjambment and sentences where the speaker seems to add side comments, as if he is improvising. This allows a voice or persona to emerge gradually. The poem begins and ends as the Duke enters and departs, almost as a slice of life.

Shelley’s choice of form in “Ozymandias” is also interesting and conveys a message. The sonnet is a precise, complex form which Shelley skilfully manipulates by varying the standard verse form, linking the first eight lines to the last six with the rhyme of “Kings”. This highly formal and carefully organised form maybe represents the sculpture’s original completeness and intended indestructability. However, it is clear that power of the kind described in the poem doesn’t last for ever. A relief to the reader as well as a warning to despots like “Ozymandias”.

The reader has quite a different feeling at the end of Browning’s poem. The hideous Duke is alive, well and very much in possession not only of his power but of those around him including the poor women he can treat as possessions to do with as he pleases. Perhaps, Browning wanted Victorian readers to compare the status of women and the power of men.
0
reply
Glaz
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#2
Report 2 years ago
#2
(Original post by Shivaay)
Hi guys,
Please can you comment your views on my comparative poetry essays.

Compare the ways poets present the effects of power in ‘Ozymandias’ and one other poem of your choice from the ‘power and conflict’ cluster. [30 MARKS]

“Ozymandias” is a sonnet written in iambic pentameter crafted by Percy Bysshe Shelley. “Ozymandias” is about a traveller stumbling upon Ramses the Second’s (the original ‘Ozymandias’) fallen kingdom.

On the contrary, “My Last Duchess” is a ‘dramatic monologue’ constructed by Robert Browning. The poem is set in Ferrara, Italy – during the middle ages. The poem is based on Duke Alfonso II d’estes Duke of Ferrara and how he gave orders to kill his wife Lucrezia de’Medici. Both “My Last Duchess” and “Ozymandias” are based around pieces of art which the main subject of the poems have commissioned or had produced to order. Both the main characters are men who have used art to display their wealth and power.

In “My Last Duchess” the Duke has had the most famous artist of his day Fra Pandolf paint a picture of his wife. She therefore becomes a kind of possession. In the poem we later learn that the fate of this “last Duchess” was to be killed on her husband’s orders – “I gave commands; then all smiles stopped together.”

In “Ozymandias” Shelley passes on the story told to him by “a traveller from an antique land” of a colossal statue found in the desert, inscribed with the text “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty and despair!” Ironically, this statue is now “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone” and a decapitated “shattered visage”. The point here seems to be that however mighty a ruler might be in life, time and the elements will destroy their legacy, even if their name remains. Perhaps, Shelley was thinking of the most powerful man of his time – Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Emperor as a comparison with the long dead Pharaoh Ramses the second.

“My Last Duchess” begins with the Duke himself speaking in a ‘dramatic monologue’ as Browning named his poems. It seems as if we are eavesdropping on the conversation which is halfway through. It seems conversational and colloquial enough until the Duke utters the phrase “if they durst” suggesting that he has power over people which they do not want to offend. The reader is anxious to know how the Duchess, whose painting is “as if she was alive”, actually died. It increasingly seems that the Duke, along with his power carries jealousy and this surprising insecurity.

On the other hand, the ridicule of Ramses the Second’s “Nothing beside remains.” and “decayed” ancient domain unearths Shelley’s abhorrent views against: undemocratic, tyrannical and oppressive monarchical governments. Perhaps, Shelley was indirectly condemning the English government and King George III under the pretext of writing “Ozymandias”.

Contrarily, the Duchess’s pleasure in everyday things: the “bough of cherries” and “the white mule” is offensive as she values his expensive gifts as only the same: “my favour at her breast”, “my nine hundred year old name”. He regards his jealousy as reasonable for a man of his status and he feels even to discuss it with his wife would be “to stoop” a phrase which implies placing yourself below someone else. He chooses “never to stoop” and instead “gave commands and all smiles stopped” this unquestionably implies he had the Duchess murdered – an appalling admission which he apparently thinks is entirely reasonable. The context of the Middle Ages when Browning set his poem is a time when girls and women were virtually sold by their families and could be dispensed with by their husbands if they did not please them. Even more appallingly, the ingenious structure of Browning’s poem reveals at the end that the visitor the Duke has been addressing throughout is in actual fact an emissary from a Count with whom the Duke is negotiating his next marriage. Clearly the reader fears for the next Duchess, given the fate of the last one! The coldness of the “dowry” negotiations with his “fair daughters self” is clearly appalling. Even more appalling is the everyday, casual manner the Duke then turns to his other possessions; the statue of Neptune.

Whilst the Duke in “My Last Duchess” can continue to abuse his power by taking another bride, we see the arrogance and self-importance will not last forever. Ozymandias’ “wrinkled lip” and brow are now remnants of his faded power, showing that however rich and powerful the man might be there are still the ravages of time – “sic transit gloria mundi” – a Latin proverb widely known in the Victorian era, translating to “Thus passes the glory of the world.”

In “Ozymandias” Shelley presents the effects of power and the loss of power through the rhyme scheme of the sonnet. Initially we are enlightened to a Petrarchan sonnet form, which later translates into a Shakespearean form. We later see the demise of this form as we greet an unknown form of a sonnet. This could be a metaphorical representation of the human existence: power is always lost with death, insinuating that power is intoxicating. Perhaps, Shelley has shown the demise of old power to display the unwillingness towards intransigence; nothing is deemed to be immortal – including Rameses the Second and his power.

Browning uses rhyming couplets for a dramatic monologue, which are skilfully written to seem like speech. This is mainly due to his use of enjambment and sentences where the speaker seems to add side comments, as if he is improvising. This allows a voice or persona to emerge gradually. The poem begins and ends as the Duke enters and departs, almost as a slice of life.

Shelley’s choice of form in “Ozymandias” is also interesting and conveys a message. The sonnet is a precise, complex form which Shelley skilfully manipulates by varying the standard verse form, linking the first eight lines to the last six with the rhyme of “Kings”. This highly formal and carefully organised form maybe represents the sculpture’s original completeness and intended indestructability. However, it is clear that power of the kind described in the poem doesn’t last for ever. A relief to the reader as well as a warning to despots like “Ozymandias”.

The reader has quite a different feeling at the end of Browning’s poem. The hideous Duke is alive, well and very much in possession not only of his power but of those around him including the poor women he can treat as possessions to do with as he pleases. Perhaps, Browning wanted Victorian readers to compare the status of women and the power of men.
That's really good. I'm doing the same poetry so reading this essay was really useful for myself aswell. Well done, I think it's amazing.
0
reply
Shivaay
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#3
(Original post by TheEyeOfBaradDur)
That's really good. I'm doing the same poetry so reading this essay was really useful for myself aswell. Well done, I think it's amazing.
Thank you so much! Good luck to you for your essay.
1
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top

University open days

  • Regent's University London
    Postgraduate Open Evening Postgraduate
    Thu, 19 Sep '19
  • Durham University
    Pre-Application Open Days Undergraduate
    Fri, 20 Sep '19
  • Loughborough University
    Undergraduate Open Day Undergraduate
    Fri, 20 Sep '19

What's your favourite genre?

Rock (145)
24.37%
Pop (145)
24.37%
Jazz (26)
4.37%
Classical (34)
5.71%
Hip-Hop (104)
17.48%
Electronic (42)
7.06%
Indie (99)
16.64%

Watched Threads

View All