Analysis of Robert Browning's Poetry

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Analysis of Robert Browning's Poetry

Many poems must be read more than once to be fully understood. It

is

often that one may notice something that wasn't noticed the first time

around. It is also possible for a poem to be read once, and have

received

the full meaning. Sometimes poems leave one thinking because the poem

doesn't provide enough information for an affirmative conclusion. "My

Last

Duchess" provides examples of leaving readers unclear of the full

meaning,

and unclear of affirmative conclusions. By using reader-response

criticism

and new historicism, one may fully understand, (or understand as much

as

possible), the meanings of Browning's work.

Before women held jobs outside of the home, before men became less

dominate than women, before intense science fiction devastated the

minds of

disbelieving alien followers, and possibly before women started to

perform

acceptable grooming - there was poetry. When "My Last Duchess" was

written

in 1842, women held a different place in society than they do today.

Women

were objects. Men ruled the world. Only Mother Nature and Mother Mary

had

any say in anything. Times have changed. Women have positions in

government

and have as much power as men . When this poem was created, women were

merely the trophy of men. Much like they have become augmented

trophies of

men today, women of the past had no say in anything. When people read

this

poem, they may think "why does the woman put up with the duke, why

doesn't

she leave him?" Back then, women listened to the man they belonged to;

he

was their master. Today, a woman with even the slightest bit of common

sense

does not put up with the attitude of any man.

"Too easily impressed: she liked whate'er

She looked on, and her looks went everywhere."

To an understanding human being of today, this means she was

friendly and

smiled frequently to show shewas an easy going person, rather than

displaying the attitude of a unfriendly type. However, men of today

probably

resemble the men of earlier days; when a woman smiles at someone else,

some

men become jealous, enraged and even murderous; just ask Mr.
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