Poster¡G Hedy Tsai
at 19:57:51 3/8/98 from h54.s174.ts.hinet.net
In "My Last Duchess", the duke tried to claim his power and used his last wife to warn others not to be against him. The duke spoke to those whom he showed the painting of his wife and wanted to let his people or his new wife know they must obey him. The duke thought his stupid wife loved everything: the dropping of the daylight in the west, the bough of cherries some officious fools broke in the orchard for her, and the white mule she rode with round the terrace. Most importantly, the duke was angry that his wife loved his favor at her breast as much as those low-priced things, which he can't stand any more.
The duke is a loyal follower of Chauvinism; he thought the duchess was part of his possession and tried to control her. "She smiled, no doubt, Whene'er I passed her; but whose passed without much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands, Then all smiles stopped together. There she stood as if she alive." I think that the duke must be satisfied because he found one way to give command and to control her --- making her dead.
Even the duchess died, the duke still possessed her --- the painting on the wall. He thought himself had the right to show the painting to people or to hide it behind the curtain. Duke thought he owned the body and the life of the duchess, but lost one thing else: the love of the duchess. Because the love of the last duchess was divided into several parts for everything she appreciated. The duke can't monopolize the love, which he failed to possess the duchess totally.
In "Porphyria's Lover", the speaker told the love story between himself and Porphyria's in a calm and peaceful tone as if the story had nothing to do with him. The lover's attitude toward love is very similar with the duke's. He is very suspicious and has no confidence. He can't make sure Porphyria's will belong to him forever. (She too weak, for all her heart's endeavor to set it struggling passion free from pride.) The lover strangled Porphyria to death in order to keep her forever, just like Emily. What impresses me most is the attitude toward Porphyria after she died. He propped her head up "as before" and made her cheek blushed by his burning kiss, which makes me sure that he was totally mad. In the last sentence "And yet God had not said a word" showed that he took killing Porphyria for granted. The lover thought that he helped Porphyria overcome the hesitation to love him.
As for "After Death", the main character of the soliloquy is a woman. She described the scene after her death. "He leaned above me, thinking that I slept and couldn't hear him; but I heard him say: 'Poor child, poor child' " and the "shroud" figured out that the speaker is dead. Though she is dead, she still can hear what others said. "Once dead he pitied me" could be the clue that her lover didn't treasure her until she died. Only when the women died could the lover realize the importance of her. "Very sweet it is to know he still is warm tho' I am cold." is ironic because it showed the selfish of the woman. She is dead (cold) so she doesn't have to suffer the pain of losing her lover, but her lover has to suffer because he is still alive (warm), which may be the only advantage of being dead.
In "The Farmer's Bride", probably the farmer enforced the maid to marry him. Anyway, the maid doesn't like this and becomes afraid of love. She tries to be against him by being" like a mouse happy enough to chat and play with birds and rabbits and such as them, So long as men-folk keep away", which is ironic because the maid treats animals better than human beings. The farmer asked himself "what to me?" to showed that he felt ignored. In the last stanza, "Alone, poor maid" showed he still thinks of the woman as a slave. Maybe he really puts great sympathy on the girl but he never tries to love her from the bottom of his heart. Perhaps that's the reason why the farmer can't win her heart and love.