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Compare and Evaluate the Effectiveness and Presentation of Ideas in 'My Last Duchess'

In this worksheet, students will be able to practise their comparison and evaluation skills between 'My Last Duchess' and other poems. This activity is mixed and requires some manual marking near the end, the marking criteria will be clearly detailed for your ease.

'Compare and Evaluate the Effectiveness and Presentation of Ideas in 'My Last Duchess'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Year:  GCSE

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

Want to practice your comparative and evaluation skills between 'My Last Duchess' and other poems?


Thought bubble


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.


3. Compare!

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.



4. Evaluate

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.

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