Themes of Power Abuse and Gender in A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf and Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

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 have multiple Central ideas within each story. Both have very different plots, but many similar and identical meanings after analyzing the text. Virginia Woolf, the author of A Room of One’s Own and Robert Browning, the author of My Last Duchess, both hide hidden messages and meanings very well within the story. Therefore, the purpose of this essay is to analyze the relationship between Woolf’s text, and the Duchess.

In these two texts, Woolf’s text, and the Duchess’ character, form many similar central ideas, one of them being the impact of gender roles on society during the time periods of both texts. ̈Soon, however, before she was out of her teens, she was to be betrothed to the son of a neighboring wool stapler ̈(49). This quote from A Room of One’s Own, helps us visualize how it was during the time for a young teenage girl, like Judith. It goes to show how young women were not viewed as people in society during this time period and that they were not capable of doing things other than getting married to men and being their entertainment.¨ somehow- I know not how- as if she ranked my gift of a nine- hundred- years- old name ̈(1). This quote relates to the central idea regards of gender roles, the Duke views the Duchess as an object whose supposed to obey and praise him. He appears upset The Duchess is not being appreciative over the ̈gift ̈ of his hand-me-down name. each quote is evidence used to help support the main idea, which is that women were portrayed as objects and treated as if they were incapable to complete simple daily tasks and chores, inequality to women.

The second central idea, a result of analyzing each text was power. and both stories, not only was power used through words, but it was also used through what was written throughout the stories, and how the characters were portrayed and how much or how little they were able to speak and make impressions on the reader. Throughout history, gender roles have been one of the biggest setbacks in society. Women are forced to satisfy the needs of men and society. My Last Duchess, by Robert Browning, focuses on the Duke establishing certain rules so to say for the Duchess, and attempting to control her. A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf, focuses on expectations of Judith society has placed, and her father trying to control her. In the two texts, the men control the women and are able to do as they please. Women must be faithful, attentive, and have chastity

My Last Duchess, by Robert Browning, paints that powerful husbands can control the actions of their wives and get away with it without any consequences. And women are expected to be faithful and only give attention to their husbands. The power and control of the Duke is displayed by the painting of the Duchess he has hung up. “My Last Duchess” (1). The use of “my” shows us that the duke looks to the duchess as a possession and that she lacks any kind of human qualities. In conclusion both stories display the overuse of power and gender roles to make up two good stories with powerful meanings.


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