Comparing My Last Duchess, La Belle Dame Sans Merci and A Woman to Her Lover

1946 Words8 Pages
Differing Views of Male-female Relationships in Three Poems

In the three poems we experience three different views of how male-female relationships should take place. In ‘My Last Duchess’ we experience the view that the male should have the main role in relationships, in ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ we hear of a relationship where the woman is in total control of the man and has all the power.
Finally in ‘A Woman to Her Lover’ we read that both men and women should have an equal amount of power and no one should be dominant. In ‘My Last Duchess’ the thoughts of a very possessive and arrogant
Duke of Ferrara are shared. He expected his wife to behave in a very conservative manner and wanted her to treat others as inferior.
…show more content…
In addition to this, we can see that he is holding this piece of artwork with the same value as the picture of his wife which shows that the Duke believes that he is superior to everyone else.

The strong feminist views in ‘A Woman to Her Lover’ however, are in total contrast to the well-known ideas in ‘My Last Duchess’. Although at first ‘A Woman to Her Lover’ appears to only show the feminist views of relationships, it is in fact in search of equality between the males and females in relationships. ‘My Last Duchess’ gives the sense that a man has the leading role, and all of the power in any relationship whereas in ‘A Woman to Her Lover’, the ideas that both men and women should be equal in relationships are uttered.

In the first stanza of the poem, we can see that the woman examines how women are typically expected to be by men (as a housewife) the
“servant” and “to bear you children”. The very fact that she is expressing these phrases in a critical and negative manner implies that she has a resents this idea towards this stereotypical view of women. At the ending of this first stanza, she states; “If that be what you ask, O lover I refuse you!” The use of the refrain here, not only points out her hostility, but also shows that she

More about Comparing My Last Duchess, La Belle Dame Sans Merci and A Woman to Her Lover

Open Document