a. Thesis Statement: With different motivations, but similar intentions the word choices and poetic rhetorical devices of the speakers reveal their attitudes toward women. Using persuasive techniques and extensive figurative language to compare and contrast Browning’s, “My Last Duchess,” and Marvell’s, “To His Coy Mistress,” it becomes clear that the main goal of the characters in these poems is their need to be the dominant force over the opposite sex. 2. Attitudes Towards Women Demonstrated in Poetry
a. Illustrate how the speakers in each of the poems are trying to persuade women i. In the Duke’s case, it’s the envoy and in the speaker’s case, the woman. b. Both the characters aims are the same, but their motivations are different i. The speaker in “To His Coy Mistress” seems like a respectful man, who is articulate, this is important because it is his main strength which he uses to lure her to him. ii. The use of time to symbolize sex=self (To His Coy Mistress) • The speaker of the poem is infatuated with a woman who won’t give him the time of day. The speaker chases the woman and he proposes that time is flying by and they should grab it and run as fast as they can. “Had we but world enough and time, /this coyness, lady, were no crime.” iii. The Duke in “My Last Duchess” is an arrogant, disrespectful man, who cares more about status and wealth then love. 3. Women are presented as objects of beauty and pleasure
a. Describe the tone and figurative language—imagery, simile, hyperbole, etc.—used to present woman as objects rather than their importance as human beings i. Elaborate on men only appreciating women for their physical appearance and ability to please their partner • In ‘To His coy Mistress’, the woman is portrayed as beautiful, “The youthful hue sits on the skin like morning dew.” Here, the speaker praises the fair complexion of the woman through the use of simile. • Similarly, in ‘My Last Duchess’, the Duke makes comments regarding his ex-duchess being captivating and alluring. “That’s my last duchess painted on the wall, looking as if she were alive. I call that a piece a wonder”. Here the Duke tries to impress the envoy with his ex-Duchess’s beauty as he stops to admire the painting of her.
4. The value of love versus total disregard for the role of women in society a. Compare and contrast the reasons each poem portrays both of these ideas b. To His Coy Mistress=values woman and the love they give i. Based on the speakers urge, or motives, for a sexual relationship with the lady ii. Describe the speakers polite techniques to praise and persuade, and how they develop into impatience and desperateness c. My Last Duchess=humiliates the role of women in society i. Show how women are viewed/treated as inferior and easily manipulated ii. Confirm the fact that because the Duchess did not depend on the Duke completely, she terrorized him.
iii. Analyze the death— the speaker refers to the portrait of the wife he murdered as “My last duchess.” It hints that she was not his only duchess and that he might have had several wives before this “last” or “latest” one. 5. Mans obsession with domination over woman (need for submissiveness) a. The men in both poems want to feel like they are ranked higher than the women. They want to feel powerful and be controlling, aiming only to please and seek pleasure for themselves. 6. Mans insecurity in the absence of women dependence
a. Answer the question: are men weakened by their dependency on the power they have over women? i. In To His Coy Mistress, although the speaker appears thoughtful and genuine, he is preoccupied with pursing an attractive and captivating young woman in all hopes of making love with her. No strings attached. ii. In My Last Duchess, When the Duke had the Duchess killed; it was a threat to all women. The Duke had the Duchess murdered because she did not worship her husband.
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