Compare And Contrast My Last Duchess And La Belle Dame Sans Merci

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In comparison to the rigid patriarchal society portrayed in “My Last Duchess”, Keats’ “La Belle Dame sans Merci” illustrates how the freedom of individual expression in the romantic period affects people’s perspective on love. While the narrative persona in “My Last Duchess” demands his wife to devote her love to him, the protagonist of “La Belle Dame sans Merci” devotes to the woman he loves even though the love is unrequited. This is evident through the repetition of the line “On the cold hill side.” throughout the poem. The noun phrase “cold hill” suggests that the knight is lonely and depressed when he waits for the woman solely, however unlike the narrative persona of “My Last Duchess”, he would not demand the woman to love him instead he would wait patiently until the day his affection towards her is accepted. Subsequently, through the knight’s patience in waiting for the woman he favours, Keats highlights the strong affection she has for the woman.

Unlike the romantic love presented in “La Belle Dame sans Merci”, one could argue that Achebe portrays love in its purist sense through the relationship between a mother and a child in a refugee camp. At the beginning of the poem, the mother is described as “No Madonna and Child could touch / Her tenderness for a son” The noun phrase, “Madonna and Child” is an allusion to Virgin Mary and Jesus. Likened to Virgin Mary and Jesus, the pure and ultimate love a mother has for a child is illustrated. Achebe uses plosive
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