My Last Duchess Comparison

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Both ‘London’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ explore the ideas of power through social structures, hierarchy and synecdoche. In ‘London’ Blake presents the theme of power through a reportage. The narrator wanders through a ‘chartered street’ and by ‘the chartered Thames’. This shows that in the narrator’s eyes the streets are owned and even an aspect of nature such as the River Thames is in ownership of someone. These owners that Blake refers to is the state who are believed to have acquired so much power that they can own natural landmarks. Due to this power, the people in ‘London’ wear metaphorical ‘manacles’ that are ‘mind-forged’ which shows they have trapped themselves due to the pain and suffering the higher class has caused them. Also, the repetition…show more content…
The narrator (Duke) who is of an upper-class is having a conversation with an envoy when he mentions ‘Will’t please you sit and look at her?’. This shows the Duke’s commanding nature as he almost forces the envoy to look at his painting although he uses a question it is rhetorical (envoys do not reply) and it shows how the Duke has power. Also, the Duke’s power is emphasized as he chooses who can see the painting ‘since none puts by the curtain I have drawn’. This gives him a sense of importance. Browning also writes ‘she ranked my gift…with anybody’s gift’. This shows that the Duke believes that names and status hold importance, power even and he expects the ‘name’ of Duchess will be enough for her but she treats everyone the same, this angers him. Throughout the poem the Duke says that he does not have ‘skill in speech’ which from the poem we can see is false. When discussing his lack of skill he says ‘which I have not’, This shows the power in words and ultimately how he couldn’t stop her with his words because he would have ‘to stoop’ he used a different way to fix his problem. Also, he says ‘I choose never to stoop’. The ‘I choose’ shows hierarchy as he has the choice. The use of the verb ‘stoop’ is interesting as it means to directly to bend one’s head, associating with the lower class or submitting yourself. This also shows the Duke’s commanding nature as he refuses to ‘stoop’ he
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