The Depiction of Power Abuse by the Antagonists in Ozymandias and My Last Duchess
In the two poems: ‘Ozymandias’ and ‘My Last Duchess’, power is examined by the antagonists of the poems by immortalising themselves or someone significant to them through art.
Both antagonists have powerful personalities who exert force over their respective areas of control. This exertion of control is evident in Ozymandias as the story, told by “a traveller from an antique land” is told. Using the adjective “antique” offers a sense of authority to the story implying that it has been told through many generations as a fable to prevent society from repeating stupendous acts; this may be Shelley’s political message within the poem, which is also reflective of Browning in My Last Duchess where The Duke has power due to his status as an upper-class gentleman with – “my gift of a nine-hundred-years old name” mirroring his arrogance where to which he took deep offence when his wife did not appreciate this resulting in him taking action. This line suggests a connection to a longstanding aristocratic family with power and prestige. The Duke’s family has been around for nearly a thousand years, and he thinks this makes him superior to the Duchess, who doesn’t have the same heritage or anything that equals to his royalty. He believes that the Duchess ought to have valued the social elevation of her marriage over the simple pleasures of life. The word ‘gift’ connotes the untouchable quality of his name and gives us an insight to his reasoning for killing his ex-wife.
In both poems, ‘My Last Duchess’ and ‘Ozymandias,’ Browning and Shelley present pride as a strong emotion which becomes negative due to the arrogance of the main characters whose behaviour leads to the pain and suffering of others. In ‘My Last Duchess’ the duke says ‘I gave commands; then all smiles stopped,’ implying that he has murdered his wife. Similarly, Ozymandias says (engraved on the pedestal) ‘Look on my works ye mighty and despair’ and he is sculpted with ‘sneer of cold command.’ This shows the egotism and superiority over his people. Both poets have chosen to use imperatives and the word ‘command’ to show the characters’ power. The duke takes a pause, highlighting his need for attention. Furthermore, the use of sibilance emphasises his sneaky and manipulative nature, so much so that readers would be concerned for the fate of his next wife who he is now due to meet. Shelley also uses alliteration in ‘cold command’ to reflect Ozymandias’ cold-hearted nature; the ‘k’ creating a harsh sound. In addition, the use of negative language in ‘sneer’ and ‘despair’ highlights how mocking and mean he is, choosing to instil fear into his people.
Both poems highlight what can happen when pride is misplaced and show how negative the consequences can be.
Both of the antagonists eventually lose their power in the poems. In Ozymandias, the traveller that regurgitates the information describes the ruins of a famous ruler’s statue “Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the dessert”.
In the time when silanization was just truly forming, there were only really four places in life and most people stayed in they were born into place. In Great Expectations […]
From the supporting details here you can tell that Pip’s life is not so easy after all, he deals with convicts, his busing sister, his parent’s death, and making sure […]
In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf stated the causes of women’s oppression and showed an intellectual commitment to political, social and feminist principles. Feminism can be defined as […]
Throughout history, women all over the world have been treated with less than equal rights. In Virginia Woolf’s essay, A Room of One’s Own, she puts forward a strong message […]
In this essay about the scarlet fever and how it affected people through all its stages and what it was involved with within the Mary Shelley’s, “Frankenstein”. So that some […]
William Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 is set during a period of rebellion and political instability, resulting in a constant emphasis on rulership and the qualities that accompany a nobel […]
To capture the audience’s interest in this text, Shakespeare applies an in-depth, prolonging text set up upon human relationships. In William Shakespeare’s, King Henry IV, Part 1 he uses human […]
The relationships formed between characters and their environment remain a powerful lens through which different aspects of leadership are explored. Set during the political and social unrest of early 15th […]
There are so many different stories that explore and address similar themes and topics. Two texts that we have read, My Last Duchess, and A Room of One’s Own, both […]
In the two poems: ‘Ozymandias’ and ‘My Last Duchess’, power is examined by the antagonists of the poems by immortalising themselves or someone significant to them through art. Both antagonists […]