Want to revise your theme evaluation skills in 'My Last Duchess'
(Hint, yes you do! Double hint, you've come to the right place to do this!)
In this activity, you'll be able to practise your evaluating skills concerning key themes in 'My Last Duchess'. This activity should allow you to practise some key skills in detecting how the writer develops key themes and presents them effectively. This is a mixed activity some of your answers will need to be manually marked!
An evaluation template:
Identifying the theme I.e. In 'My Last Duchess' Browning presents the theme of arrogance
Example I.e. At the end of the poem, Browning uses the metaphor of "Neptune" who is "taming a sea-horse" to present the way the Duke sees himself; as a mythic god who is able to tame his Duchesses, and those around him, to suit his needs.
Effect I.e. Browning also uses a semantic field of arrogant language: words such as '"disgust", "stoops" and "trifling" are a few words which emphasise how the Duke views himself as above others.
Linking the theme to the poem as a whole: I.e. The theme of arrogance links well to ideas of control and murder. The Duke's arrogance stems from his belief that he can control and manipulate those around him because of his power and title.
Don't worry about making your evaluations super complex and don't get too intimidated by the example up there. It's more sophisticated so that you have a super good example to look up to and work towards!
Hopefully (fingers crossed) this makes evaluating themes easier to understand. If it's still tricky, don't worry because the activity will be filled with helpful hints and explanations that you can jot down as you do it.
Remember, take your time, it's not a race!
You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples. These quotations are for reference only.