Monday, February 7, 2011

Browning responses


  1. My Last Duchess

    This poem is a perfect representation of the importance placed on human emotion by the romantic movement. Unlike most romantic literature, however, “My Last Duchess” is a statement of how human emotion can get in the way. The narrator’s love of the woman was so all-consuming that it manifested itself in jealousy which in turn brought him to kill the love of his life. It could also be said that instead of his love that made him commit this act, it was his greed and possessiveness. This changes the reading of the poem altogether as both of these concepts are associated with the more commercial aspects of the romantic time period. Browning could instead be saying that in this corrupt society, greed concurs love.

  2. Kyle DeHolton
    8th period
    “My Last Duchess”, by Robert Browning

    In this Romantic poem, Browning uses tone and imagery that are dynamic and seem to change. Browning’s diction when describing the duchess shows his attention to the scenery. Browning, when describing the Duchess’ propensity for being impressed, uses nature and natural things, such as “[t]he dropping of the daylight in the West, / [t]he bough of cherries some officious fool / [b]roke in the orchard for her, [or] the white mule / [s]he rode with round the terrace” (26-29). By describing his wife as having “[a] heart … too soon made glad, / [t]oo easily impressed” (22-23), the Duke of the story shows that he doesn’t think highly of his wife, that she thought she was of a simple mind, who “ranked / [his] gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name / [w]ith anybody's gift. The abruptness with which the poem changes from the Duke talking about his wife to telling the reader to “[n]otice Neptune, though” (54) shows that the Duke doesn’t care particularly for his wife (and future wives) and merely thinks of them as prizes, equivalent in worth to art.

  3. This poem emphasizes romanticism by displaying the unfathomable absurdity of human emotion. The man in the poem is reminiscing about his late wife when he comes to realize that his adament and jealous ways casued the love of his life to pass away. As he remembers his late wife’s life, the author uses imagery to add meaning to the story being described. This helps the reader because it adds a certain emotional appeal for a story to be described on that level. My immidiate repsonse to the character’s emotions was remorse. However, as I finished the poem, my thoughts took an unsympathetic turn as I realized that the character brought the pain of loss upon himself.

  4. Sorry, I forgot to add my name for the last comment:
    Anna Provenzano 1st period.

  5. Sofia Dyer
    period 7
    "My Last Duchess"
    Emotion especially was key in romanticism and Browning creates emotion associated with lament for the dead, and fear. Though the narrator feels little pity for his dead wife, the imagery used leads the audience to feel this way. The poem especially evokes fear from the line "I gave commands;/ Then all smiles stopped together" (45-46). The narrator was not murdering someone who was unjust or cruel, he was murdering someone who was characterized by her smile. The poem also plays on the idea of love, which was another common theme from the Romantic era. The poem's tone gradually gets darker, descending from gentle, and reverent, to dark and disdainful. " The dropping of the daylight in the West" (26) illustrates a warm golden sunset. The title in itself acts as a euphemism because it is a much more respectful way of expressing the narrator's true opinion about his previous wife. The end of the poem, " together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,\Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity"(54-55) presents the character as so apathetic, that it fortifies terror, seen in romanticism.

  6. My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

    This poem is Romantic because of the emphasis on the duke's mindset. In the poem, his possessive and jealous nature is revealed. This is made clear by the line "since none puts by/The curtain I have drawn for you, but I". Now that the duchess is dead, he can paints whatever picture he wants of her, particularly, the image of a flirt ("[H]er looks went everywhere"). Browning sets the scene of this "horrifying realization" by painting mundane details, particularly the portrait sessions. As this "rant" goes along, the reader realized that this was important, that the duke was responsible for the duchess's death. When I finished the poem, I thought that this duke character has little love for his wife, and probably little for the next one he is marrying. The same fate will most likely befalls her. His bride may be become just another trophy.

    -Kim Pham, 1st period

  7. "My Last Duchess"

    Within each line, the reader is lured further into the poem through sudden grammatical breaks, a clever syntactical device that Brownings uses to activate a privatized sense of limited disclosure. The most glaring aspect of Brownings poem is how he manages to translate a horrifying story into something so aesthetically vibrant. The duke's infatuation of the duchess suddenly turns wrong, and he murders her. The audience is unable to fully comprehend the dramatic nature of the plot, struck by the syntax and diction of the poem itself. Browning idealizes the situation by incorporating this, while simultaneously exploring aspects of sex or rage by the character of the duchess herself. Browning is capricious in the poem, leading the reader into a number of questions. The audience is challenged on a psychological level that is truly riveting from a personal viewpoint. Indeed, the poem is vibrant yet horrifying at the same time, but this dual nature asks for deeper, subconscious appeals that are striking for a poem. The duke's muses on the duchess gives way to a framed tale, an aspect that facilitates the depth of poem. Brownings cleverly uses and manipulates romantic devices that asks more from the reader, a feeling that is most similar to that of Shelley's Frankenstein, for clearer understanding.

  8. on "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning...

    The conversational tone of this poem contributes to its Romantic style, as is evident by lines such as "Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet / The company below, then." Because of this tone, the narrator seems to ramble, speaking whatever comes to his mind as he shows his host the painting. In contrast, the rhyme scheme and iambic pentameter provide an underlying structure to the poem, and these contrasting elements are reminiscent of the contrast between the reason of the Renaissance and the abstract qualities of Romanticism. Additionally, the contrasting elements evoke the same elements of Shakespeare's work, which includes conversational tone, iambic pentameter, and sometimes rhyme, in addition to sections of prose. Finally, the narrator's descent into dislike and jealousy of Fra Pandolf, as exemplified in the lines "Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt, / Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without / Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; / Then all smiles stopped together" represents humankind's descent from a world in harmony with nature to a world that exploits nature as brought on by the Industrual Revolution.

  9. Alec Brown, Period 3

    "My Last Duchess"

    This poem brought in the concept of the author wanting to express his personal feelings. I interpreted it to imply that the woman was killed because the man loved her so, yet she "had a heart... too soon made glad, too easily impressed; she liked whate'er she looked on, and her looks went everywhere" (21-24). She looked at everything the same, and not any different to him. "She thanked men--good! But thanked somehow... as if she ranked my gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name with anybody's gift" (31-34), she didn't treat him any differently than any other man she met, and that tormented him because he loved her so. And he killed her because of this, because she didn't love him back. This introduces an element of irony, as her death was caused, ironically, by his love for her. Love caused pain and suffering. He still calls her his "duchess" however, showing that he still has his feelings toward her.

  10. "My Last Duchess"

    In this poem the speaker is showing his second wife his house, and reveals a painting of his dead wife. The speaker requests his guest to "sit and look at her" portrait, lamenting that some people say "paint must never hope to reproduce the faint half flush that dies along her throat." The speaker dismisses this praise as false, and believes that his wife had a heart "too soon made glad." The Romantic elements of this poem show through as the speaker laments that his duchess flirted constantly with others and never respected his nine hundred year old name. Eventually the speaker commands her until "all smiles stopped together," a hint that he contributed to her early death. Browning's expression of emotions and the emphasis on romantic feelings in "My Last Duchess" places the poem squarely into the category of Romanticism.

    Roger Cain
    English 3

  11. "My Last Duchess"

    In this poem, the narrator's last duchess is shown in a painting. The narrator looks at the painting and recalls her behavior and the way she acted. The poem is Romantic because it mentions both art and literature from that time period. The painting creates an emotional response within the narrator which causes him to speak about his last duchess. A specific tool that the author uses is dialogue through quotations marks. These quotes are spoken by people such as Fra Pandolf, or they may be hypothetical. What these quotes do is add to the emotional response of the narrator, and they add his point of view regarding the duchess. The poem's diction allowed it to sound like a poem about a man who missed his duchess. Upon further research, I learned that the man was responsible for the duchess' early demise. However, I still do not sense that when I read the poem, because the style it is written in makes it difficult to understand.

    -Abdulkarim Bora, Period 3

  12. At first, Browning describes, not using very obvious language, the painting sessions of the duchess. He describes what the painter did, and what she should've said that would've been appropriate (such as that the paint could not capture her entirely). However, he later moves on into her behavior, and how it escalated more and more, and his anger escalated too. It says that "then all smiles stopped together" which might mean that he killed her (because she is dead)and that made him also sad...but perhaps not regretful of his actions. I liked this poem as it has a light tone, but covers a darker theme.

  13. "There Stands a Lonely Pine Tree" is a lovely Romantic poem. The way Heine describes the tree dreaming and longing for an alien tree in a far away continent reminds me of two lovers who are separated perhaps by war or work. They exist in opposite climates--perhaps one in Canada and the other in the Africa. Both seem melancholy and unfulfilled wishing for the other to be near. But the trees can never be together because they are rooted and could not survive the temperature extremes of the other's home.

  14. My Last Duchess
    (Willa Brown)

    I thought this poem was very interesting because even though the narrator is speaking of a lover lost his tone is harsh an frustrated. His last duchess had flirted with all the other men that walked by and was “too easily impressed”. This disrespect brings up flaming anger in the man and during his speak about her he cannot help but to keep building on how she was a bad duchess. This is romantic even though it does not talk about nature it is clearly entwined with the concepts of emotions and their eventual downfall. This jealousy leading to doom is a wonderful reflection on what a romantic writer would think about.

  15. My Last Duchess has a darker tone then many other poems from the time, but can still be seen to represent the movement of Romanticism. The cruelty of the duke who killed his wife and his attempts to be absolved of blame make the reader tend to dislike him and view him and nobility in general as evil. Browning also made those within the romanticism movement hate the Baron more by making the baron appear to hate nature and the fact that his wife liked nature. By doing so Browning makes the baron appear to be a self centered and scheming traitor to the movement, his wife, and nature as a whole, and an object to be hated in the eyes of everyone.

    Ben G

  16. The Browning poem is odd to my ear. It represents the (perhaps mad?) musings
    of the Duke about how he recently became widowed when it appears he killed his wife (I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together), the one in the painting. (Since he gave commands, it would appear pre-meditated and not a fit of rage.) The Duke is a dominant or controlling individual and did not like it when the Duchess did not sufficiently honor his 900 year old name and was a flirt (she liked whate'er she looked on). Perhaps he was upset by a specific event in which some man (a fool) broke off a cherry bough took from the orchard for her.
    Not my favorite poem.
    David Goldstein
    (Ben G's dad)

  17. My Last Duchess
    L. Creedle
    In “My Last Duchess”, Browning conflates cruelty and domination with artistic mastery in ways that are, well, artistic and masterful. I’ve never been a huge fan of much romantic poetry--too many windswept adjectives, too little story--which is why I’ve always loved this poem. The tone is almost conversational and yet every word seems carefully chosen to impart a particular effect. The bough of cherries, obvious symbol of nature, isn’t just plucked from the orchard, an “officious fool broke” it, in an act of impulsivity that leads to the impression the Duchess and her friends are good deal younger than the Duke. Artifice as used to control and subdue nature is encapsulated in the final image of the bronze of Neptune taming a seahorse.

  18. Kathryn Laflin Period 7 "My Last Duchess"

    In "My Last Duchess" Browning shows the tendency to exualt the individual and his needs and emphasis on the need to for a freer and more personal exaggeration. By using phrases such as "E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose
    Never to stoop," the author shows that no matter what the consequence he desired to continue on with his actions. The author shows that although it may not be the best choice in the world, he is free to make it. He continues to show choices and freedoms for his desires.