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Compare Content in 'My Last Duchess' and other Poems

In this worksheet, students can practise their comparison skills between 'My Last Duchess' to other poems. The activity will allow the student to begin practising forming content-based links between poems.

'Compare Content in 'My Last Duchess' and other Poems' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA, Pearson Edexcel

Curriculum topic:   Poetry, Poetry Anthology Collections

Curriculum subtopic:   Power and Conflict: 'My Last Duchess', Relationships: 'My Last Duchess'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Want to begin to revise your comparative skills between 'My Last Duchess' and other poems?

 

Thought bubble

 

In this activity, we will be jogging your memory by comparing the content of 'My Last Duchess' with the poems you best see fit, out of the options given. 

 

Before we begin, here's a quick list of the key content you could talk about and use to compare with other poems:


Jealousy
Arrogance
Control
Murder
Sex
Power

 

You can definitely think of any other themes which you think Browning uses, as long as you have the evidence to show that it is a recurring topic in the poem!

 

Remember: take your time, as there's no rush and make sure to jot down any explanations which you find helpful!

What one poem, from the cluster, would you compare 'My Last Duchess' with?

 

Think about the theme of arrogance.

 

'The Charge of the Light Brigade'

'Ozymandias'

'London'

'Exposure'

Which one poem, from the cluster, would you compare 'My Last Duchess' with?

 

Think about the theme of death/murder.

 

'Kamikaze'

'The Emigree'

'Exposure'

'Checking Out Me History'

What one poem, from the cluster, would you compare 'My Last Duchess' with.

 

 

Think about a semantic field of nature ("cherries" "daylight" "orchard").

 

'War Photographer'

'Storm on the Island'

'Checking Out Me History'

'The Emigree'

Which one poem, from the cluster, would you compare 'My Last Duchess' with?

 

Think about the theme of corruption and power.

 

'The Emigree'

'London'

'The Charge of the Light Brigade'

'Tissue'

Which one poem, from the cluster, would you compare 'My Last Duchess' with?

 

 

Think about the theme of art.

 

'Ozymandias'

'Exposure'

'The Charge of the Light Brigade'

'Tissue'

Link the ideas in each poem which you think match up best with 'My Last Duchess'

 

HINT: some of these ideas match with MORE THAN ONE poem in the table.

 'My Last Duchess''Exposure''Storm on the Island'
Theme of nature
Destructive force of nature
Theme of death

Link the ideas in each poem which you think matches up best with 'My Last Duchess'.

 

 Theme of powerCorruptionHierarchy and classArrogance
'My Last Duchess'
'Ozymandias'
'London'

Link 'My Last Duchess' to one other poem, in the cluster, which shows the loss of innocence.

 

'The Emigree'

Extract from 'The Prelude'

'Ozymandias'

'Exposure'

Pick the one option which you think showcases how 'My Last Duchess' and 'Checking Out Me History' could be compared.

 

 

Pick the answer which you think best shows the similarity between the two poems.

 

Both poems feature a discussion of history

Both poems are about death; the Duchess dies in 'My Last Duchess and in 'Checking' the speaker dies

Both poems feature an element of control; where Browning's Duchess is being controlled by the Duke (even in death), Agard's speaker is fighting against the control and manipulation of his own history

Last question! 

 

Tick the two poems that you think are the easiest to compare to 'My Last Duchess'.

 

Hint: think about if these poems show similar ideas to Browning's poem.

 

Think about power, arrogance and nature.

'Ozymandias'

'Tissue'

'The Emigree'

'London'

'War Photographer'

  • Question 1

What one poem, from the cluster, would you compare 'My Last Duchess' with?

 

Think about the theme of arrogance.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
'Ozymandias'
EDDIE SAYS
Both 'Ozymandias' and 'My Last Duchess' contain arrogance as a theme. Great focus if you got this one right!
  • Question 2

Which one poem, from the cluster, would you compare 'My Last Duchess' with?

 

Think about the theme of death/murder.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
'Exposure'
EDDIE SAYS
'My Last Duchess' and 'Exposure' both share the theme of murder/death, although they present this theme in contrasting ways. Where 'My Last Duchess' has a clear cut implication that the Duke killed the Duchess, 'Exposure' features a semantic field of death/murder in the words "dying", "deadly" and even "attacks" and "merciless". The two poems definitely make heavy references to immortality, death and suffering- in different ways! What about the form? The way the two poems differentiate in stanza length? What effect does this have on the overall content of the two poems?
  • Question 3

What one poem, from the cluster, would you compare 'My Last Duchess' with.

 

 

Think about a semantic field of nature ("cherries" "daylight" "orchard").

 

CORRECT ANSWER
'Storm on the Island'
EDDIE SAYS
Out of all the poems, 'Storm on the Island' has a semantic field of nature! Look at the words "trees", "sea" and "wind"- in fact, the whole poem is about the destructive force of nature. So, where 'My Last Duchess' only has a chunk of its poem dedicated to the Duchess' love for the natural gifts, 'Storm on the Island' is a more intense account of the power and force of nature.
  • Question 4

Which one poem, from the cluster, would you compare 'My Last Duchess' with?

 

Think about the theme of corruption and power.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
'London'
EDDIE SAYS
Out of all the options above, 'London' would be your best bet, especially in talking about corruption and power!
  • Question 5

Which one poem, from the cluster, would you compare 'My Last Duchess' with?

 

 

Think about the theme of art.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
'Ozymandias'
EDDIE SAYS
The theme of art is present in 'My Last Duchess' think about the symbolism that the painting of the Duchess provides, such as the Duke exerting his control and dominance over the painting. Similarly, the statue of Ozymandias is also a way of showing control and dominance- although, in 'Ozymandias', the statue is the one with power and dominance.
  • Question 6

Link the ideas in each poem which you think match up best with 'My Last Duchess'

 

HINT: some of these ideas match with MORE THAN ONE poem in the table.

CORRECT ANSWER
 'My Last Duchess''Exposure''Storm on the Island'
Theme of nature
Destructive force of nature
Theme of death
EDDIE SAYS
Filling out tables like these will allow you to identify which themes poems within the cluster share. Think about how these ideas correspond to each poem and, what evidence you could pick to support the overlapping themes. Also, consider how do themes differ? What tone/language devices are used?
  • Question 7

Link the ideas in each poem which you think matches up best with 'My Last Duchess'.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
 Theme of powerCorruptionHierarchy and classArrogance
'My Last Duchess'
'Ozymandias'
'London'
EDDIE SAYS
Filling out tables like these will allow you to categorise which themes, poems within the cluster share. Think about why and how these ideas and themes match-up and what evidence you could pick to support the fact that the poems share similar ideas.
  • Question 8

Link 'My Last Duchess' to one other poem, in the cluster, which shows the loss of innocence.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
'The Emigree'
EDDIE SAYS
'My Last Duchess' and 'The Emigree' definitely showcase the loss of innocence. In 'My Last Duchess' the Duchess' murder symbolises a loss of innocence in the poem- she was killed for smiling at everyone and loving the simpler things in life. In 'The Emigree' we also have this loss of innocence, but a childlike innocence. The speaker grows and begins to realise that there's a significant difference between the city she remembered as a child and the corrupt and dictatorial city she has come to know as an adult.
  • Question 9

Pick the one option which you think showcases how 'My Last Duchess' and 'Checking Out Me History' could be compared.

 

 

Pick the answer which you think best shows the similarity between the two poems.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Both poems feature an element of control; where Browning's Duchess is being controlled by the Duke (even in death), Agard's speaker is fighting against the control and manipulation of his own history
EDDIE SAYS
Evaluating how the poet presents ideas is a crucial part of comparing poetry. Practise your skill of deducing how certain attitudes are presented (with both comparison and contrast) and you'll soar in the comparison part of the exam.
  • Question 10

Last question! 

 

Tick the two poems that you think are the easiest to compare to 'My Last Duchess'.

 

Hint: think about if these poems show similar ideas to Browning's poem.

 

Think about power, arrogance and nature.

CORRECT ANSWER
'Ozymandias'
'London'
EDDIE SAYS
The two main poems, especially if you want to compare content and themes, would probably be 'Ozymandias' and 'London' in which power, corruption and dominance play a central role. Remember, when comparing two poems, always look at how they are similar and different, giving evidence for each point you make. You can compare poems if they have similar language techniques and/or similar themes.
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