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Dramatic Monologue: Love and Death


'Song' ('When I'm Dear, My Dearest') Christina Rossetti. Dramatic Monologue: Definition ' ... Dante Gabriel Rossetti's model for virgin. contradictory images ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Dramatic Monologue: Love and Death

Dramatic Monologue Love and Death
  • Christina Rossetti
  • and Robert Browning

  • Song (When Im Dear, My Dearest)
  • Christina Rossetti
  • Dramatic Monologue Definition
  • Song as a Dramatic Monologue
  • My Last Duchess
  • Porphyrias Lover
  • Robert Browning as a Victorian Poet

  • When I am dead, my dearest, Sing no sad songs
    for me Plant thou no roses at my head, Nor shady
    cypress tree. Be the green grass above me With
    showers and dewdrops wet And if thou wilt,
    remember, And if thou wilt, forget.
  • Questions
  • Repetition, Pattern and Contrast?
  • Meanings of the last two lines.
  • Tone?

Song (2)
  • I shall not see the shadows, I shall not feel
    the rain I shall not hear the nightingale Sing
    on as if in pain. And dreaming through the
    twilight That doth not rise nor set, Haply I may
    remember, And haply may forget.
  • 1st stanza
  • No sad song, roses,
  • shady Cypress tree
  • Green grass wet with rain and dewdrops

A Song version http//www.victorianweb.org/author
s/crossetti/plockinger1.html. edit ???s version
Song Multiple Meanings
  • Release Death as a release no need for mourning
    ritual or obsession
  • Reluctance Death being an eternal midnight, the
    speaker rejects what she knows she cannot enjoy,
    and her enumeration of them reveals her love
    (e.g. nature and natural cycles)
  • Both.
  • A woman talking about her own death, but not used
    as a symbol by men.

Christina Georgina Rossetti in Context
  • Dante Gabriel Rossettis sister but not accepted
    as a member of Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
  • serve as Dante Gabriel Rossetti's model for
  • contradictory images produced by DGR
  • (top to bottom) an innocent girl, tempestuous
    one, a serious and aloof woman.
  • vs. the Pre-Raphaelite Women

CR as Virgin
Ecce Ancilla Domini,1850  Dante Gabriel
CR as a Writer
  • Seen as a simple writer by her brother William
    Michael R and other male critics (e.g. "at best a
    spontaneous and at worst a naive technician.")
  • Writer of religious poetry and childrens nursery
  • Like Dickinson, hers is poetry of reticence
    (????), deals with loss and death a lot. The
    language, only apparently simple, is rich with
    ambiguities. (They also have a lot of religious

Dramatic Monologue
  • A poem which involves a speaker speaking alone to
    a and an implied auditor.
  • Through his speech, the following is revealed
  • what, when, where and how of the story
  • a gap between what that speaker says and what he
    or she actually reveals (reference).

Dramatic Monologue the Reader
  • Browninesque dramatic monologue has three
  • The reader takes the part of the silent listener.
  • The speaker uses a case-making, argumentative
  • We complete the dramatic scene from within, by
    means of inference and imagination.
  • (Glenn Everett reference).

Song as a Dramatic Monologue
  • Dramatic Situation and listener (my dearest)
  • Contradiction between the speakers intention and
    what she actually reveals.
  • We can write the story in many ways.

Dramatic Monologue in Historical Context
  • The poets meeting the readers need for stories
    in Victorian society, when novel was a popular
  • A device to explore the depth of human psychology
    and the theme of alientation by assuming an
    personae (often quite alien to the poets own
    values and beliefs)
  • e.g. The Waste Land, The Love Song of J. Alfred

My Last Duchess Starting Question
  • 1. The "who, where, when, and why" of the poem?
  • 2. The role the listener plays in this poem?
  • 2. What is the last duchess like? (See ll. 21-34)
    Why is she called the last duchess? Is she a
    flirt or one with genuine kindness to all
  • 3. What is the duke's attitude to his duchess?
    What happened to her?
  • 4. What kind of person is the duke? What does the
    ending reveal about him?

My Last Duchess (1)
  • Ferrara
  • That's my last Duchess painted on the
    wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That
    piece a wonder, now Frà Pandolf's hands Worked
    busily a day, and there she stands. Will't please
    you sit and look at her? I said "Frà Pandolf" by
    design, for never read Strangers like you that
    pictured countenance, The depth and passion of
    its earnest glance, But to myself they turned
    (since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for
    you, but I)                      

My Last Duchess (2)
  • And seemed as they would ask me, if they
    durst, How such a glance came there so, not the
    first Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas
    not Her husband's presence only, called that
    spot Of joy into the Duchess' cheek perhaps Frà
    Pandolf chanced to say "Her mantle laps Over my
    Lady's wrist too much," or "Paint Must never hope
    to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along
    her throat" such stuff Was courtesy, she
    thought, and cause enough

My Last Duchess (3)
  • For calling up that spot of joy. She had A heart
    -- how shall I say? -- too soon made glad, Too
    easily impressed she liked whate'er She looked
    on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, 'twas all
    one! My favour at her breast, The dropping of the
    daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some
    officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the
    white mule She rode with round the terrace -- all
    and each Would draw from her alike the approving

My Last Duchess (4)
  • Or blush, at least. She thanked men, -- good!
    but thanked Somehow -- I know not how -- as if
    she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old
    name With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to
    blame This sort of trifling? Even had you
    skill In speech -- (which I have not) -- to make
    your will Quite clear to such an one, and say,
    "Just this Or that in you disgusts me here you
    miss, Or there exceed the mark" -- and if she
    let Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set

My Last Duchess (5)
  • Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made
    excuse, --E'en then would be some stooping, and I
    choose Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no
    doubt, Whene'er I passed her but who passed
    without Much the same smile? This grew I gave
    commands Then all smiles stopped together. There
    she stands As if alive. Will't please you rise?
    We'll meet The company below, then. I repeat,
    The Count your master's known munificence Is
    ample warrant that no just pretence     
  • Of mine for dowry will be disallowed           

My Last Duchess (6)
  • Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed At
    starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go Together
    down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, Taming a
    sea-horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of
    Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!          

My Last Duchess
  • Time the Italian Renaissance, when the duke is
    negotiating with an envoy over the dowry of his
    next marriage.
  • Place the grand staircase in the ducal palace at
    Ferrara, in northern Italy
  • His purpose to boast and/or to threaten.
  • silence of the listener awe, alertness?

My Last Duchess
  • The duchess jovial and loving equally to
    everyone and every being.
  • last 1) not late she may be killed, but she
    may also be put in a convent. 2) will be another
  • The duke 1) possessive and arrogant, he treats
    the duchess and the next one as objects to
    possess 2) proudchoose not to stoop
  • His language 1) implicit demand 2) uses grand
    rhetoric to assert his power, disguising his lack
    of power.

My Last DuchessDramatic Irony
  • Contradiction between what he says and what he
  • double negative
  • says he has no skills in speech
  • says he refuses to stoop (Isnt the command a
    compromise of his humanity?)
  • Between assertion of power and powerlessness
  • Power -- none but me draws the curtain
  • Powerlessness repetitions of all not alone,
    it was all one.

Robert Browning (1812-1889)
  • Eloped with and married the poet Elizabeth
    Barrett (1806-1861, writer of Sonnets from the
    Portuguese), and settled with her in Florence. He
    produced comparatively little poetry during the
    next 15 years.
  • After Elizabeth Browning died in 1861, he
    returned to England.
  • THE RING AND THE BOOK (1869), based on the
    proceedings in a murder trial in Rome in 1698.

Porphyrias Lover Starting Question
  • How would you describe the speaker? From which
    details can you tell the way his mind works?
  • How about Porphyria? How are the two set in
    contrast with each other?
  • Where is the turning point in this poem? How are
    the two changed, or not changed, before and after
    the turning point?
  • Who is the listener? Why is the listerner

Porphyrias Lover (1)
  • THE rain set early in to-night,
  •   The sullen wind was soon awake,
  • It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
  •   And did its worst to vex the lake
  •   I listen'd with heart fit to break.
  • When glided in Porphyria straight
  •   She shut the cold out and the storm,
  • And kneel'd and made the cheerless grate
  •   Blaze up, and all the cottage warm

Porphyrias Lover (2)
  • Which done, she rose, and from her form
  • Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
  •   And laid her soil'd gloves by, untied
  • Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
  •   And, last, she sat down by my side
  •   And call'd me. When no voice replied,
  • She put my arm about her waist,
  •   And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
  • And all her yellow hair displaced,
  •   And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
  •   And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair,
  • Murmuring how she loved meshe
  •   Too weak, for all her heart's endeavour,
  • To set its struggling passion free
  •   From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
  •   And give herself to me for ever.

Porphyrias Lover (3)
  • But passion sometimes would prevail,
  •   Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain
  • A sudden thought of one so pale
  •   For love of her, and all in vain
  •   So, she was come through wind and rain.
  • Be sure I look'd up at her eyes
  •   Happy and proud at last I knew
  • Porphyria worshipp'd me surprise
  •   Made my heart swell, and still it grew
  •   While I debated what to do.
  • That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
  •   Perfectly pure and good I found
  • A thing to do, and all her hair
  •   In one long yellow string I wound
  •   Three times her little throat around,
  • And strangled her. No pain felt she
  •   I am quite sure she felt no pain.

Porphyrias Lover (4)
  • As a shut bud that holds a bee,
  •   I warily oped her lids again
  •   Laugh'd the blue eyes without a stain.
  • And I untighten'd next the tress
  •   About her neck her cheek once more
  • Blush'd bright beneath my burning kiss
  •   I propp'd her head up as before,
  •   Only, this time my shoulder bore
  • Her head, which droops upon it still
  •   The smiling rosy little head,
  • So glad it has its utmost will,
  •   That all it scorn'd at once is fled,
  •   And I, its love, am gain'd instead!
  • Porphyria's love she guess'd not how
  •   Her darling one wish would be heard.
  • And thus we sit together now,
  •   And all night long we have not stirr'd,
  •   And yet God has not said a word!

Porphyria and her Lover
  • Porphyria
  • cares about the norms of society and its "gay
  • dominates over him.
  • The speaker isolated quiet gloomy, listens
    "with heart fit to break.
  • His language repetition, nasal sound to show his
  • The lack of communication "no voice replied."

Turning Point the Listener(s)
  • turning point When the speaker believes that
    Porphyria loves her, he takes the initiative to
    possess her forever.
  • The ending an attempt to rejuvenate her.
  • the listener Porphyria, God, or us ? sympathy

  • Porphyrias Lover-visual presentation
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