Thursday, September 9, 2010

Analysis of Four Different Poems

In the poem, My Last Duchess, Robert Browning constructs a sinister tone by implying murder was committed in such casual tones: "I gave commands/Then all smiles stopped altogether." At first, the narrator in the poem seems to describe a portrait of a woman he loved, but by the poem's end, the reader is well aware that "[the duke] refers to his last duchess as an object, as a possession that has been appropriately added to his prized collection," (DiYanni, 2008, p. 514).

The connotation of the word daffodils differs from its denotation in William Wordsworth's I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. While a dictionary describes daffodils simply as yellow flowers, in his poem, Wordsworth personifies the daffodils to make the narrator's loneliness apparent to the reader. He does this by describing the daffodils as "a crowd", "a host", and seeing the daffodils "dance".

The effect of Elizabeth Bishop's recurrent use of white imagery in the First Death in Nova Scotia is one that illustrates the finality felt by the narrator over the death of Arthur. She describes his casket as "frosted cake", his countenance as "white, like a doll, and his final resting place: "roads deep in snow".

Shakespeare plays with metaphor and meaning in his two poems, Shall I compare thee to a summer's day and My mistress eyes are nothing like the sun. During the poem Shall I compare thee to a summer's day, the reader knows that the narrator is in love because he uses a summer day to describe the object of his affection. He also vows that their love will last forever, an "eternal summer" that "shall not fade". Simile is further employed in My mistress eyes are nothing like the sun with the line, "If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head."

DiYanni, R. (2008). Literature approaches to fiction, poetry, and drama [2nd Ed.]. New York: McGraw Hill

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