‘Ozymandias’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ Flashcards Preview

Power and Conflict poetry > ‘Ozymandias’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ > Flashcards

Flashcards in ‘Ozymandias’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ Deck (5)
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1

Ozymandias - Context (5)

- Shelley was a romantic Poet
- Romanticism was a movement in the late 1700's and early 1800's
- Romantic poets believed in emotion rather than reason and particularly focused on the power of nature
- Shelley also disliked monarchies, absolute power and the oppression of ordinary people
- His radical political views were inspired by the events of the French Revolution, where the monarchy was overthrown

2

What is Ozymandias about? (4)

- The narrator meets a traveller who tells him about a statue standing in the middle of the desert
- It's the statue of a king who ruled over an ancient civilisation
- His face is proud and he arrogantly boasts about how powerful he is in an inscription on the statues base
- However. the statue has fallen down and crumbled away so that only the ruins remain

3

My Last Duchess - Context (5)

- Browning was born in England but lived in Italy for many years
- He was fascinated by the Italian Renaissance (14th - 16th C) - a period in which the arts flourished
- The poem is based upon Duke Alfonso II of Ferrara
- Duke Alfonso's wife, Lucrezia, died in suspicious circumstances - there were rumours that she was poisoned
- Hearing about this event probably inspired Browning to write this poem

4

What is My Last Duchess About? (4)

- The Duke proudly points out the portrait of the Duchess (his former wife) to a visitor
- The Duke was angered by the Duchess's flirtatious behaviour - she was friendly towards everyone and he was annoyed that she treated him just like anyone else
- He acted to stop the Duchess's flirtatious behaviour, but he doesn't say how he did this - there are hints that he had her murdered
- The Duke and his guest walk away from the painting and the reader discovers that the Duke's visitor has come to arrange the Duke's next marriage

5

How do the poets use form to portray power?

Browning uses rhyming couplets to show the Duke's desire for control but the enjambment suggests he gets carried away with his anger and passions
Shelley uses a sonnet form, however it doesn't follow a regular sonnet rhyme scheme, perhaps reflecting the way that human power and structures can be destroyed