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ROBERT BROWNING AND HIS COMPARISON WITH ALFRED LORD TENNYSON • • INTRODUCTION TO ROBERT BROWNING MAJOR WORKS OF ROBERT BROWNING MY LAST DUCHESS THE BISHOP ORDERS HIS TOMB COMPARISON OF ROBERT BROWNING WITH ALFRED TENNYSON Rahat Amin Lecturer, Dept. of English
INTRODUCTION TO ROBERT BROWNING: Robert Browning (7 May 1812 – 12 December 1889) was an English poet and playwright. ⦿ His poems are known for their irony, characterization, dark humour, social commentary, historical settings, and challenging vocabulary and syntax. ⦿ When Browning died in 1889, he was regarded as a sage and philosopher-poet who through his writing had made contributions to Victorian social and political discourse. ⦿
MAJOR WORKS: In Florence, probably from early in 1853, Browning worked on the poems that eventually comprised his two-volume Men and Women, for which he is now well known, although in 1855, when they were published, they made relatively little impact. ⦿ In 1868, after five years work he completed and published the long blank-verse poem The Ring and the Book. ⦿ The Ring and the Book was his most ambitious project and is arguably his greatest work; it has been called a tour de force of dramatic poetry. Published in four parts from November 1868 to February 1869, the poem was a success both commercially and critically, and finally brought Browning the renown he had sought for nearly 40 years. ⦿
"My Last Duchess" is one of Robert Browning dramatic monologues. ⦿ "My Last Duchess" is Browning's best-known and most frequently anthologized poem of this type. ⦿ “MY LAST DUCHESS” BY ROBERT BROWNING
CRITICAL APPRECIATION OF MY LAST DUCHESS: Browning's "My Last Duchess" is partly an important poem because of its unusual point of view. ⦿ The poem is told using first person. ⦿ Critics typically discuss the ways that Browning brilliantly layers complex hidden meanings beneath the surface of the Duke's perspective. ⦿ Browning carefully crafts the poem so that, while the Duke says one thing, readers can infer multiple other meanings. ⦿
Critics also praise this poem for being historically accurate in its depiction of the Duke as a powerhungry, arrogant, and misogynistic aristocrat. ⦿ During a time when women had much less power and freedom than they do now, Browning gives us a poem that could be seen as a protest against domestic abuse, the mistreatment of women, and the abuse of power against those with less power and less rights. ⦿
THEMES OF THE LAST DUCHESS: The main themes in Robert Browning's poem "My Last Duchess" include: ⦿ The theme of truth ⦿ The theme of power and entitlement ⦿ The theme of insolence ⦿ The theme of young marriage ⦿ Jealousy as Gateway to Madness
THE BISHOP ORDER HIS TOMB AT SAINT PRAXED’S CHURCH: The poem is narrated by a fictional bishop on his deathbed. ⦿ It is dramatic monologue, one of Browning's most accomplished in the form, is notable both for its command of voice and for its contemplation of matters religious, psychological, and historical. ⦿
CRITICAL APPRECIATION OF THE BISHOP ORDERS HIS TOMB: ⦿ The poem in which poet falls in and out of lucidity, often trailing off. ⦿ The bishop addresses a group of young men whom he calls "nephews, " but there is implication one or more might be his sons; particularly one named Anselm. ⦿ As he contemplates the inevitability of death, he reminds the men that they need to make sure his tomb is built in St. Praxed’s church as he plans.
⦿ He describes how he wants the men to dig up some Lapus Lazuli, a precious stone that he rescued from a burning church and then hid away in a secret place that he describes to the men. ⦿ The bishop works himself up again as he contemplates the fading of his life, but then falls to accusing the men of ingratitude. ⦿ He finally accepts that they will act dishonorably against him and blesses them anyway. As they leave, he again remembers how Gandolf envied his relationship with the woman he had mentioned earlier.
THEMES OF THE BISHOP ORDERS HIS TOMB: The main themes in “The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church” are: ⦿ Rivalry/Competition ⦿ Greed ⦿ Religion and Materialism
COMPARISON OF ROBERT BROWNING WITH ALFRED TENNYSON: ⦿ They both had unique styles and applied new and untested techniques in their prose. ⦿ Both use the element of dramatic monologue but in ways that are quite different from each other. ⦿ Browning concentrates on the thoughts of his desperate characters and attempts to explore the deepest recesses of their twisted personas. ⦿ Tennyson, meanwhile, tries to draws understanding from exterior certainties, concepts, and matters and then attempts to express it through lavish linguistics.
⦿ Tennyson’s misery pours with traces of nostalgia, while Browning is hyper with energetic flourishes. ⦿ Tennyson seems to focus on crafting and prolonging a particular mood overall, Browning nearly always tries to take us into the heart and soul of his characters. ⦿ Tennyson’s monologues seem more musically flowing and seem a little less enthusiastic in comparison. He uses them differently than Browning does and the same characters cross over from his monologues to his poetry.