Hi guys

Can you guys help me analyse the poem?
Help me find different literary devices and poetic techniques used to convey the meaning of this poem.

Thanks a lot in advanceEmotion: smile
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No problem, Guest. But first you need to help us determine what kind of help
you need. Can you please:

1. Post the first 24 lines of the poem (down to 'She looked on...').

2. Say what level you are studying this poem at.

3. Say what kind of 'literary devices' and 'poetic techniques' you're
expected to find (i.e. what kind of things you looked for in your last
exercise of this kind).

You may want to consider registering - it makes things easier.

MrP
Hi MrPedantic
I've registered now.

Here is the Poem:

My Last Duchess

FERRARA

1That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
2Looking as if she were alive. I call
3That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands
4Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
5Will 't please you sit and look at her? I said
6"Frà Pandolf" by design, for never read
7Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
8The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
9But to myself they turned (since none puts by
10The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
11And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
12How such a glance came there; so, not the first
13Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not
14Her husband's presence only, called that spot
15Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps
16Frà Pandolf chanced to say, "Her mantle laps
17Over my Lady's wrist too much," or "Paint
18Must never hope to reproduce the faint
19Half-flush that dies along her throat"; such stuff
20Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
21For calling up that spot of joy. She had
22A heart . . . how shall I say? . . . too soon made glad,
23Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
24She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
25Sir, 'twas all one! My favour at her ***,
26The dropping of the daylight in the West,
27The bough of cherries some officious fool
28Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
29She rode with round the terrace--all and each
30Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
31Or blush, at least. She thanked men,--good; but thanked
32Somehow . . . I know not how . . . as if she ranked
33My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
34With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
35This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
36In speech--(which I have not)--to make your will
37Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this
38Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
39Or there exceed the mark"--and if she let
40Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
41Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
42--E'en then would be some stooping; and I chuse
43Never to stoop. Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt,
44Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
45Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
46Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
47As if alive. Will 't please you rise? We'll meet
48The company below, then. I repeat,
49The Count your Master's known munificence
50Is ample warrant that no just pretence
51Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
52Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
53At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go
54Together down, Sir! Notice Neptune, though,
55Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
56Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me.
http://eir.library.utoronto.ca/rpo/display/poem288.html

I'm studying at senior highschool level (Gr.11 U-English in Ontario, CAN)

Literary devices such as:
Rhyme scheme, onomatopoeia, alliteration, metaphor, assonance, simile, personifcation, symbolism, archetype, allegory, paradox, hyperbole, irony, euphanism, allusion, tone, refrain, imagery, and other such devices/techniques that HELP convey the meaning of the poem. What is Browning trying to convey?

Also, right now I have to analyze "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" and I'm having difficulty understanding it Emotion: sad But I don't wanna open a new thread for that.

THanks
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Welcome to English Forums, Parsa! Good screen name.

One thing I forgot to ask - when's your deadline for this assignment?

Also, would you rather go through this poem first, or Childe Roland?

MrP
Why, are you going to write it for him Mr. P? Emotion: wink
hey.. thanks for the reply...
I need it by Friday
And don't worry about Childe Roland anymore, I'm done that.

And nona the brit, he's just helping meEmotion: wink

Regards
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Friday. That's quite soon, Parsa. We'll see what we can do.

Quick intro. This = a dramatic monologue. You are being spoken
to by the Duke.

Techie stuff: it's written in heroic couplets with
almost continuous enjambement. (What does this mean, in terms
of the style of the poem? What effect does it have on the
rhythm?)
[Enjambement = when the lines run over the line breaks. This gives a conversational effect.]

(1) Who are 'you', the person the duke is speaking to? (Look at the last few lines.)
(2) The first 4 words in this poem are the most important. Use these
as a key to the rest.

'That's' - what does this tell you about the style of the poem? What
does the speaker do as he says 'That's'?
['That's' is another conversational effect.]

'My' - what does this tell you about the duke's attitude to his wife?

'Last' - what does this tell you about the duke's way of life?

'Duchess' - what would you expect a duchess to be like? How does
that compare with the 'duchess' you see in the poem? Why is there
a discrepancy?
[What do you think the difference in rank was, between the duke and his last wife? Why do you think he married her?]

I've marked some parts in bold. See if you can work out
why they're important and how they relate to your list of things to
look for. I've also divided the poem up into sections. Each section
marks a change in direction. Each change in direction marks a
psychological step on the speaker's part. Browning is gradually
rotating the duke in front of you.

1That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
2Looking as if she were alive. I call
3That piece a wonder, now:

[Not personification. Look up 'pathetic fallacy'.]

Frà Pandolf's hands [Fra P. is imaginary]
4Worked busily a day
, and there she stands.
[Google on 'Frà'. Look at the dates. That gives you a clue as to when the poem is set. Browning wrote some other poems about real painters with 'Frà' in their names. Finding out about these may help]

5Will 't please you sit and look at her? I said
6"Frà Pandolf" by design, for never read
7Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
8The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
9But to myself they turned (since none puts by
10The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)

11And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
12How such a glance came there; so, not the first
13Are you to turn and ask thus.

[Do you notice anything about the duke's comment? What
question on 'your' part is he responding to?]

Sir, 'twas not
14Her husband's presence only, called that spot
15Of joy
into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps
16Frà Pandolf chanced to say, "Her mantle laps
17Over my Lady's wrist too much," or "Paint
18Must never hope to reproduce the faint
19Half-flush that dies along her throat";

[This quote gives you at least four poetic devices: metaphor, personification, hyperbole, alliteration.]

such stuff
20Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
21For calling up that spot of joy.

She had
22A heart . . . how shall I say? . . . too soon made glad,
23Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
24She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.

[What has happened here? How did we get from 'perhaps'
in line 15 to 'her looks went everywhere'?]
[Note that the duke began by hypothesizing how the conversation went between Fra P. and his wife. But now he's somehow moved on to what really happened.]

25Sir, 'twas all one! My favour at her ***,
26The dropping of the daylight in the West,
27The bough of cherries some officious fool
28Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
29She rode with round the terrace

[Riding the mule gives you a clue as to her social status.]

--all and each
30Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
31Or blush, at least.

She thanked men,--good; but thanked
32Somehow . . . I know not how . . . as if she ranked
33My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
34With anybody's gift.
Who'd stoop to blame
35This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
36In speech--(which I have not)--to make your will
37Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this
38Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
39Or there exceed the mark"
--and if she let
40Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
41Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
42--E'en then would be some stooping; and I chuse [= choose]
43Never to stoop.


Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt,
44Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
45Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
46Then all smiles stopped together.
[Look up euphemism...]

[What does he mean? (Think 'The Godfather'.)]

There she stands
47As if alive. Will 't please you rise?

We'll meet
48The company below, then. I repeat,
49The Count your Master's known munificence
50Is ample warrant that no just pretence
51Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
52Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
53At starting, is my object.


['Object'? How many meanings does 'object' have, in this poem?]

Nay, we'll go
54Together down, Sir!
Notice Neptune, though,
55Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
56Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me.

These from your list should be fairly easy to find:

Rhyme scheme = ?
alliteration - give an example.
metaphor - ditto
assonance - ditto
simile - ditto
symbolism - ditto
hyperbole - ditto
irony - ditto
euphemism [note spelling] - ditto
allusion - there's a special kind of allusion in this poem. What is it?
(Think Pandolf.)
tone - where does tone change most significantly?

If you want me to check your answers to any of the above, post 'em up.

Good luck.

MrP
MrP

Thanks a lot for your help and response. I truly appreciate it.

Here's a rough draft of my analysis:

“My Last Duchess”, by Robert Browning, is a poem telling a story, [?wealthy of - I think you mean rich in] various poetic techniques and literary devices. The title of this poem reveals that the speaker, a duke, [?which is - or 'i.e.'] “a sovereign prince who rules an independent duchy in some European countries” according to dictionary.com, is referring to his last wife. The story of this poem perhaps has a historical allusion: a reference to a similar occurrence in history. The speaker, in “My Last Duchess”, talks about his last wife pointing to a painting of her on the wall. Personification is used when the speaker says, “Looking as if she were alive”, in order to describe the painting’s beauty since it looks so real. This could also suggest that the duchess is not alive. The speaker goes on [?to utter about - not really idiomatic; 'to talk about'] the painting, as he, again, uses personification which is symbolizing the “depth” and “passion” of the painting, and revealing his last wife’s glamour. [Think 'irony' here. Do you notice anything about the way the duke talks about the painting, and the way he talks about the actual person?] The duke discloses his protectiveness of his wife as he uses a metaphor, in the parentheses in lines eight and nine, about curtains that only he has permission to draw. The phrase “spot of joy” in lines fourteen and fifteen is a metaphor comparing the splendour and beauty of the duchess’s cheek which caught a lot of attention. [Perhaps she just blushed very easily.] The speaker later employs personification [?to describe how the duchess looked at everything and everywhere - You may want to reconsider this.]. This had seemingly bothered the duke [very much so - not really idiomatic; either 'very much' or 'a great deal']. The imagery and examples provided in lines twenty-five throughout thirty-one let [?the leader - 'the reader'?] know that the duchess was too flirtatious and friendly for the duke’s liking. The simile??, in lines thirty-one and thirty-two, contrast the way she thanked men to the way she supposedly disvalued the duke’s family history and prestige. [?This further portrays - 'This is further evidence of'] her flirty nature in the eyes of the duke. The speaker, then, presents irony as he articulates he has no speech skills, despite the rhyme scheme in which he speaks in. Browning employs an AABB rhyme scheme in this poem. The duke then uses a metaphor to say that his duchess failed to keep her prized possession, her husband. The metaphor describes her as one of his soldiers who missed the “mark” somehow, through shooting, archery, etc. [Not quite; the duke is actually imagining how he might have corrected her faults, in terms of archery. But well done for getting the archery metaphor.] All these faults of the duchess, in the duke’s eyes, “grew”, as expressed in line forty-five. “I gave commands” and “then smiles stopped together” collaboratively suggest the duke’s killing of his wife. [He arranged her murder.] The flirtatious traits of the duchess had irritated the duke to the point of killing her. “Then all smiles stopped together” symbolizes the certain death of the duchess. The personification followed by simile in lines forty-six and forty-seven, “There she stands/As if Alive”, point out the duke’s wife is no longer living. Browning uses irony to illustrate the duke’s manipulative and callous character towards the end of the poem, in line fifty-three, as he refers to the girl he wants to marry as “my object”. [Good; this is 'dramatic irony'. The duke is not aware of how much he is revealing about himself.] This surface meaning of this pun is that to marry the girl is the duke’s object, aim, or goal. The deeper meaning refers to the girl as an object, a possession in which the duke will be glad to purchase.

Robert Browning’s aim in writing this poem was to convey the atrocities and feeblemindedness of his time. Browning, perhaps wanted to show the level of thinking of the people in power in the Victorian age. He wanted to capture an era of history in a work of art, so the generations and generations of humans to come can learn from history’s mistakes.
[You may want to consider the possibility of another aim, on Browning's part: to explore the psychology of another age.]
Hello again Parsa

You're doing a good job so far.

I've put some notes in italics in my previous post, and some notes in bold in your
last post.

Two things to consider are:

1. The conversational tone of the poem, and how Browning gets that effect.

2. 'Dramatic irony': the duke is not conscious of the extent of his
self-revelation. Gradually, we piece together the whole unpleasant story. We
are to assume that the Count's envoy (who has come to discuss the marriage
with the Count's daughter) is similarly piecing the story together as he
listens to the duke. But the duke seems unaware of the effect of his
words.

MrP
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