Dover Beach

& My Last Duches Essay, Research Paper

Setting in Dover Beach & My Last


Intro to Literature Paper II . My analysis of the setting in My Last Duchess and

Dover Beach At first glance the setting of a poem is the psychological and

physiological environment in which the story takes place. In some instances, the

setting is used to develop the characters. Robert Browning and Matthew Arnold

use the setting to expose their character traits. ?My Last Duchess? and ?Dover

Beach,? respectively, portray the weaknesses of the characters using elements from

the setting. The text, page 629 and 630, tells us that the setting in ?My Last

Duchess? displays a valuable art form that exposes his greed and cruelty. ?Dover

Beach? demonstrates changeability and impermanence. The speaker?s solution is

to establish personal fidelity as a fixture against change, dissolution, and brutality.

Even though the text tells us the main use of setting in these two poems, I believe

that many individual words used in the poems help describe the surroundings and

the feelings that the speaker is trying to get across. Robert Browning, the author of

?My Last Duchess?, uses the setting to show the Dukes greed, cruelty, and

jealousy. The development of the setting begins with the Duke showing an agent

for the Count of Tyrol the curtained picture of his deceased Duchess. Count of

Troy sent an agent in order to see if the Duke is worthy to marry his daughter. The

fact that he keeps the picture behind closed curtains and deems it a privilege to

view the Duke?s last Duchess illustrates his possessiveness and greed. ?She

thanked men–good! But thanked somehow–I know not how–as if she ranked my

gift of nine-hundred-years-old name with anybody?s gift?. This line lends to the

setting by showing his greed and how he places himself above other men

according to his possessions and can not believe that she had the audacity to place

?the Duke? in the same category as other men. The physical setting of this poem is

revealed by phrases such as ? That?s my Duchess painted on the wall? and words

like ?curtains? and ?Duke?. ?Duke? itself makes one think of a beautiful castle

with priceless furniture and art work. The use of curtains to cover up the Duchess?

picture implies that the Duke is hiding something. The phrase mentioned above

informs all that the Duke?s past wife is dead and that by putting her picture on the

wall shows the love and devotion that he had for her and will have for his future

wife. Where the words of the Duke imply that he shows dedication and warm heart

for the Duchess the setting reveals the true character of the Duke. ?Dover Beach?

is a poem written by Matthew Arnold and was first published in 1849. The

physical setting is described as a moon lit night by a calm sea. In the distant

background the speaker describes the cliffs of England as he looks across a

tranquil bay. The author is setting up a romantic scene for two people in love. The

waves give both a mental and physical setting for the poem. ?Listen! You hear the

grating roar of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, at their return, up

the high strand, begin, and cease, and then again begin, with tremulous cadence

slow, and bring the eternal note of sadness in.? Here, Arnold begins using the

setting to describe the characters and their traits. The phrase ?begin, and cease,

and then again begin? is indicative of the characters changing state of mind; to like

then dislike, to love then hate then love again. The use of ebb, flow, and misery

makes the night and the relationship between the lovers appears dark and chaotic.

Through his depiction of the eroding shores of the earth, Arnold describes the

constant changes in the relationship and the continuous changes of their feelings

towards each other. Lines 20 and 21, ?the Sea of Faith, was once, too, at the full,

and round earth?s shore,? describe the erosion of not only the land but the

relationship of the couple, too. The wind, waves, and sounds that you hear along

the beach, obviously the physical aspects of the setting represent the emotional ties

of the lovers. The speakers description of a land of dreams having, ?neither joy,

nor love, nor light, nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain:? is one were the

relationship has nothing hidden and the roar of the waves on the beach reflect

relaxation instead of confusion and controversy between the couple. Being

confused the couple does not know if they are fighting to keep the relationship

going or fighting in order to end the relationship. The setting described in the last

three lines using words such as struggle, flight, clash, and darkling plan allows the

reader to understand the confusion in the couples life Where Browning uses the

setting to reveal the characters greed and cruelty, Arnold uses the setting in ?Dover

Beach? to expose the lover?s struggle in their relationship. Both poems? settings

reveal the weaknesses of their characters and allow the reader to draw a mental

picture of the situations faced by the characters in the poems?. The use of setting in

a poem emphasizes the author words and character development. Setting not only

describes the physical surroundings; it also describes the mental though of the

characters in a poem. .

Book = Literature an intro to reading and writting 5th edition Authors = Edgar V.


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