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In the contemporary world, love has turned out to be such a controversial issue. Marriages and relationships in as much as they are meant to be a happy union, have turned out to be a place of hurting, vengeance and ultimately leading to regrets and unbearable consequences. Issues of trust and faithfulness are taking toil in most couples and in many cases the parties involved retaliate by reacting violently and for that matter, running out of control. Exploring the three poems with the main agenda of enlightening the nature of the relationship linking violence and love unravels tremendous results. Husbands mistreat their wives, violate them physically and emotionally and some eventually end up killing them when their anger takes full control of them. On the same note, wives are forced to be unfaithful to their husbands who turn out to be unbearably harsh and controlling. They feel like the husbands just see them as objects to be controlled and to satisfy their female ego, they find refuge in other men who appreciate them in a much better way.
In the poem, "My Last Duchess" is the spectacular speech of the Duke of Ferrara, who existed in the 16th century and is negotiating his second marriage with an agent on the staircase - given that he has just been, widowed to the daughter of an influential family. Using the elements of an impressive monologue, he reveals to the emissary and also to the reader, his situation and even his intentions. Browning reveals the appalling story of the assassination of the Duke's preceding wife through the Duke's dialogue with the mediator.
The Duke attempts to smother an erroneous picture of himself to the agent, wishing to come out as a dignified, but mistreated and thoughtful, affectionate husband who is pushed by circumstances to massacre his prideful, impertinent wife, who apparently is a young and lovely girl. The Duke's exact controlling, scheming, envious character is exposed. He alleges that his dead wife used to flirt with other men and did not value his “gift of a nine-hundred-years- old name” (33). He also claims to have skilled her in language and courtesy, “Even had you skill in speech” (36).
Moreover, his longing for power is made manifest by the construction of the sonnet, through his admiration of art as well as his comeback to the insignificant occurrences that led to the demise of his wife. The recurrent uses of caesura all over the poem accentuate the Duke's control in the conversation. A close follow-up of the Duke’s monologue makes the reader become conscious, with ever-more unsettling conviction, that the Duke was actually the person behind the Duchess’s premature demise.
“I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together” (46); this implies that the Duke made his late wife’s life miserable and unbearable. She stopped being happy with her husband. He is a controlling man who wanted his late wife to abide by his orders and rules. The Duke’s lack of regret for his wife’s demise is more evident when immediately after having completed this exposé, returns to the dealing at hand: organizing for a different marriage, with a new young girl.
The Duke's approval of painting shows the control he has over the artists who create his facilities of art; the picture of his most-recent Duchess and the sculpture of Neptune. Although the Duke was not capable of controlling the Duchess, whilst she was living, subsequent to her death, he is in absolute command of her. The Duke states, "none puts by the curtain…but I," (10) enlightening that at the moment he is capable of controlling both the duchess's face and decides on who views the portrait by a curtain wrapper over the portrait.
At the conclusion of the sonnet, the Duke loses sense of direction, a feature portrayed through the rhythm of the sonnet. The Duke's fretfulness agitation over his wife's murder is revealed by the colliding lines or enjambment in the sonnet. The reader is made to visualize the disgusted agent walking down the staircase, the Duke's restlessness as he loses grip of himself and his need to recuperate control of the condition as he says, and “Nay, we’ll go down together, sir” (53). He wants to convince the agent that his wife pushed him to killing her. The wife happens to have appreciated images of nature, an intelligent comparison to the synthetic objects the duke values. Of course, he values things that he has control over.
His discontent over the Duchess' connection with nature is exposed in the phrase "…as if she ranked my gift…with anybody's gift" (34). It is apparent that the Duke considers his name, a non-natural thing, to be of greater importance than the innate stuff which causes the duchess’ joy. Eventually, it is the Duke's loss of self-control that makes him murder his wife. His incapability to control himself, leads to her death, and now all he has is another valued object-a portrait, which he is in comprehensive control of (Everett 1).
The Duke talks about sex, brutality, and aesthetics as all entwined, complicating and perplexing each other: the abundance of the words used contradicts the fact that the Duchess was reproved for her ordinary sexuality. Her husband’s expressions propose that nearly all the hypothetical mistakes occurred only in his intellect. The woman is a casualty of a male craving to engrave and secure female sexuality. We have individuals confronted with a progressively more composite and unspecified present humanity. This urge comes unsurprisingly; controlling appears like conserving and stabilizing. The Duke simply exercises his power, while the aspect of the poem that dominates could either be the dismay of the Duchess’s outcome, or the exquisiteness of the language and the influential spectacular progress (Everett 2).
In Yeats, “Leda and the Swan,” the speaker unfolds the particulars of an anecdote from Greek myth-the sexual assault of Leda by the deity Zeus exposed in figure of a swan. “Leda and the Swan” is a brutal, sexually precise couplet with all the lyricism and convolution of Yeasts’ later work, with its simple articulation, musical dynamism, and allusions to supernatural thoughts regarding the world, the affiliation of human beings and godly, and the account of history.
However, the major intention of the poem is to depict consideration to the cruelty that overwhelmed Yeasts’ native soil through that moment. The poet calls up a sequence of memorable, strange metaphors of an instantaneous physical occurrence by conceptual imagery in a concise idiom, while simultaneously presenting a distanced observation of that incidence as time goes by. The heading of the epic is imperative where the writer assumes that the reader is proverbial with the myth referred to in the label and to comprehend that the swan is a personification of the omnipotent god, Zeus.
The poem begins unexpectedly, as the swan attacks Leda with “a sudden blow,” (1) mainly suggesting to be and proceed of sexual infiltration. The application of that simple, influential expression contrasting a whole sentence, and a split prior to the procession emphasizes the volatile aggression of the operation. The poet offers an account of Leda that portrays her substantial or even mental situation, as she staggers beneath her attacker. There is a more or less an intense portrayal in the expression “her thighs caressed,” (2-3).
The swan is articulated in regular descriptions like “great wings” (1) and “dark webs” (3) that appear bizarre. Leda is referred to as “the girl” (2) wedged in the bird’s bill like a miniature vulnerable creature, “before the indifferent beak could let her drop”(14). The narrator raises a question; how could Leda’s “frightened vague fingers” thrust the feathered magnificence of the swan from between her legs? (5-6). Yeats, the speaker employs figurative language to build up the picture of how the girl is feeble and helpless as the swan takes full advantage of her.
As part of the legend, it is acknowledged that Zeus is the one taking up the appearance of the swan, and since he is the “king of the gods” this might be deduced as more of a heavenly interference. This is even further effective since Helen of Troy, the lady who made one thousand crafts on account of her beauty; is the effect of this “union.” Lines 9, 10, 11 and 12 go one step ahead and talk about the overhauling of Troy by the Greeks, in which the deities all correspondingly participated in their positions and qualities by taking their favorite parts. The narrator might be linking the notion of Helen; whose ultimate kidnap from her spouse, Menelaus, initiated the Trojan combat.
In classic Shakespearean epic layout, the very last two lines of the sonnet create a form of declaration. Here, the narrator is curious about what precisely, if anything, did Leda accomplish from this assault. Somehow, Leda is left with an advantage. The declaration questions what Leda could have achieved from the attack. As a female, incapable of repelling the intense nature of this violence, Leda had no power in the subject of this wicked rape. Nevertheless, the narrator appears to be perplexed whether or not Leda left this place a transformed woman; maybe even more powerful? Furthermore, one has to consider the legend since this is not a usual incidence of brutality from a male in opposition to a female. Yeats has incorporated the suggestion that the invasion of Troy was instigated in this particular occurrence; the beginning of Helen of Troy. This event sets in motion a fascinating interpretation on the recounting of history and whether proceedings as they transpire are essentially in our power or not!
All the above descriptions mirror the society where men misuse their power and authority to take advantage women who are viewed as the weaker sex. It seems like generally men have associated love with violence. The Duke kills his wife when he realizes that he cannot control her, and that she does not step up to his desires. He feels like a “god” who will not obey any other person. The icon of the dominant god, taking power of the seahorse reveals the Duke’s preferred affiliation between him and any female. Moreover, the Duke is displaying his dominance to be similar to that of Neptune when he says that he will rule “his empire...with an iron fist” (54-55).
His arrogant statements confirm that he will instill apprehension into his wife with his haunting strategies. Browning displays a disturbing sensation through the Duke’s remarkable monologues. He exposes the Duke’s domineering necessity for power and supremacy through metaphors. The swan rapes the poor helpless girl whose opinion, wish or desire matters not to the swine. The two poems reflect the true nature of love as a feeling accompanied with pain, sorrow and suffering where those involved have to endure the reparations therein.