Comparison of: 'My Last Duchess' and 'Tombs of Westminster Abbey'

Essay by m_iria_mHigh School, 11th gradeB, May 2004

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Both 'My Last Duchess' and 'Tombs of Westminster Abbey' are about death. One is mostly about the characters dead wife ('My Last Duchess') and the other leans more towards burial and more than one death ('Tombs of Westminster Abbey'). Both poems are set in different time periods and have a different view of death, yet they remain similar in some ways, like the way the poems doesn't use stanzas and the way they are not regular, typical poems. In 'My Last Duchess', the poet takes on a persona and a monologue and yet, the poem falls under many possible groups for illustration as family, death and sadness for his wife. Although the poem shares no sign of sadness, it suggests to me as a reader, that in my own view of the persona he takes on, he seems cynical and arrogant and does not in the least bit care about his wife and gets angry when she smiles too much, but I see it as he obsesses about her too much now she's dead.

On the other hand, 'Tombs of Westminster Abbey' is seen as rhetorical and satirical, as if it was trying to persuade us. To conclude the similarities and differences of the poem, I just have another point to bring up, it seems that in 'My Last Duchess', the character/poet is trying to sound heartless, yet in 'Tombs of Westminster Abbey', the content of death is explained and laid out so as we understand it and don't get the impression of cruelty.

My first poem of comparison is 'My Last Duchess'. Firstly, the Duke in question during this poem lived in the 16th century at the time of the Renaissance. In 'My Last Duchess', one man...