Want to practice your comparative and evaluation skills between 'My Last Duchess' and other poems?
Well, you've come to the right place because this activity will help you learn to compare and evaluate ideas/attitudes/themes at the same time. It's just a bit of multitasking and you can do it!
It'll take some good deduction skills, as well as an understanding of the themes and ideas you want to discuss. You need to think about how the poet presents ideas differently/similarly in both poems.
1. Make your point!
In 'My Last Duchess' Browning uses the painting of the Duchess to symbolise the speaker's control over his dead Duchess. The painting represents the Duke's possessiveness, illustrated by the quote "but to myself they turned (since none puts by the curtain I have drawn for you but I)". This embedded clause showcases the Duke's sense of possessiveness over the Duchess. He does not want anyone looking at the picture, yes, but the quote also highlights how the Duke seems to view the painting as alive. Her eyes must only turn to him.
2. Link to another poem!
Similarly, in 'Ozymandias' control is extended through inanimate objects. Ozymandias statue is personified as "a shattered visage" with "nothing beside" remaining. Much like the painting of the Duchess, the statue of Ozymandias represents longevity and control.
However, unlike the Duchess, who is being controlled through her painting, Ozymandias, himself, is exerting control. In both cases, the Duke and Ozymandias seem to be deluded as they both attempt to use inanimate pieces of art to maintain their sense of power and grandeur. Both the Duke and Ozymandias are portrayed as arrogant and unhinged.
So, where 'Ozymandias' attempt to make his legacy last through an inanimate piece of art, (which ends up in a "colossal wreck") in the case of the Duchess, it is the Duke who is using her painting to extend his control and legacy.
A tip: it'll help to jot down any new/helpful advice you get given in this activity!
You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples. These quotations are for reference only.