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“My Last Duchess” by Browning and “Daddy” by Plath Essay

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Updated: Nov 25th, 2021

Introduction

The word of literature is entire in its shaping and significance for a reader. In this respect the deepest thoughts projected by an author can be caught and further evaluated for the purpose of gaining more aesthetic and life wisdom. The poetic literature provides suchlike line in the ideas due to not only the graphical implementation of text, but with the help of correct impressive means and stylistic devices. The poem by Robert Browning “My Last Duchess” and the poem by Sylvia Plath “Daddy” are analyzed in the paper with particular attitude to how the first person narration is reflected on each speaker’s psyche. Moreover, the comparative analysis is imposed for the purpose of making parallels between both poems in the details, setting, and features maintained. All in all, the discussion seeks to find out the peculiarities of both poems in their poetical and notional coloring.

Discussion

Comparison of both poems

First of all, one should understand that the ideas raised in the poems should not be comprehended in a direct way. The use of different stylistic devices which provide sub contextual effects of exaggeration and diminishing of definite feelings provided in both poems imparts additional expression on a reader. Hence, the poem by Sylvia Plath provides rather aggressive but realistic, quite pessimistic but true description of a girl’s father whom she adored, but who appeared for her inglorious and worthy death. In the Browning’s poem “My Last Duchess” the main theme is patterned over the latest Duchess of Duke who confesses at the portrait of his dead wife that it is he who made her early demise. Notwithstanding, the Duke being the speaker in the poem continues pointing out other works of art in his collection and negotiates about supposed marriage with the emissary. Themes in both poems are full of chilly and inhumane feelings of the speakers. This is seen on the examples of their quite strict and lack of merciful attitude remarks about the object of their cordial discussion.

Sylvia Plath and “Daddy”

The first person narration in both poems designates the personal feelings of speakers and correlates their inner struggle with the life obstacles which were obvious and rather equivocal. The voice of a girl in Plath’s poem and the voice of a man in Browning’s one dramatize the plots and the setting of both. In this respect one should bear in mind the reality of what is discussed in the poems. In fact, these are the true stories of historical events apparent for different epochs. In “My Last Duchess” the poem shows the events of the approximately 16th century. In relation to Plath’s poem, the events point out the twentieth century in time when the fascist chimera fell down on the mankind in the world and in Europe, particularly. The moral ideals are almost trite in the soul coloring of both speakers. The morality seems to play no significant role in their lives. Moreover, the prescription of their disappointment is indicated in a straightforward manner. Hence, in “Daddy” the following lines evaluate the whole attitudinal character of the speaker:

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal (Plath para. 2)

Here the dominance of negative attitude performs the initial behavior of the speaker. In fact, the author chose the most convenient stylistic transformation when provided the first person narration. Otherwise, the expressive effect could not be achieved and implemented. There is also some feature of ironic relation between the title and the content of the poem. This contrasts the idea of an honorable attitude toward parents and promotes more information on what was done by them. From the first side, a lot of cruelty is dampened by the rational, though, too sincere estimation of what had appeared in life of the daddy before.

Robert Browning and “My Last Duchess”.

Browning, on the other hand, is apt to characterize the background of the speaker in terms of sincere feelings of him as well. Though, the ignorant and rather outrageous attitude of the speaker toward his former and, unfortunately, dead wife is concerned with her allegedly unfaithfulness and disregard of the nobility of the Duke’s name:

Or blush, at least. She thanked men,—good! but thanked
Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill (Browning para. 1)

Thereupon, the egoistic and inhumane behavior of the Duke was the result of such trouble with a Duchess, as I think. Furthermore, the confession of his does not seem so cordial and sincere, but as an attempt to justify personal position in this very situation. The author describes such negative traits of character in the speaker and places it on the foreground of the poem, so that a reader could do own assumptions and assertions about him.

Conclusion

To conclude, the poems by Robert Browning “My Last Duchess” and by Sylvia Plath “Daddy” can be compared in their themes and ideas. However, the intentional coloring along with the relation to various events makes these poems different.

Works cited

Browning, Robert. “My Last Duchess”. Web.

Plath, Sylvia. “Daddy”. Ariel, 1966. Web.

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IvyPanda. "“My Last Duchess” by Browning and “Daddy” by Plath." November 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/my-last-duchess-by-browning-and-daddy-by-plath/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "“My Last Duchess” by Browning and “Daddy” by Plath." November 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/my-last-duchess-by-browning-and-daddy-by-plath/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '“My Last Duchess” by Browning and “Daddy” by Plath'. 25 November.

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