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My Last Duchess Essay Research Paper Intro

My Last Duchess Essay, Research Paper 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

My Last Duchess Essay, Research Paper

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.

395

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

Henery E Jacobs

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