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Have a little read: … Comparing ‘Ulysses’ by Lord Tennyson and ‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning. “Ulysses” was written by Lord Tennyson and is a poem about a mythical Greek character and is a dramatic monologue. Another poem that is a dramatic monologue is “My Last Duchess”, by Robert Browning. Both poems are similar, for example they are both structured similarly, and are both different, one difference being their subject. In this essay I will compare the two poems, focusing on form, and how language helps to build up subject matter.
Ulysses is a Greek mythical character, and was famous for being a pirate, ransacking villages and being a warrior. In Greek literature, Ulysses just seemed to disappear after he got home, and Tennyson decided to write about Ulysses and his thoughts after ‘retiring’ from fighting. The poem is written in verse, and seems to be either a dramatic monologue or monologue interior. It is hard to know which one, as a dramatic monologue must have a listener (other than the audience.
Ulysses is talking to someone, his dead soldiers, but as they are deceased it is difficult to decide if they count as a listener to the poem.
My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning was written in the same era as “Ulysses” and is written in Verse. This poem is different to “Ulysses” as this poem is about a fictional character which is created by Browning. This is a Dramatic Monologue, as the duke (the character created by Browning) is talking to the servant of the father of a possible bride.
To create the effect of speech, Browning uses Iambic Pentameter, which helps to imitate the rhythm of conversational speech, and enjambment frequently.
The use of language to present the subject matter is important for both poets. In Ulysses, the poet builds up a picture of the characters inactiveness by using words such as “still”, “dull” and “pause”. These adjectives create an understanding of what life is like for Ulysses, and this is then contrasted with words of his past such as “roaming”, “ringing” and “windy”. These words create a contrast between the activeness of the past, and the stillness of the present. This helps the reader imagine what life was like for the character when he was young.
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