Theme Of Love In My Last Duchess

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The theme of Love is complexed and varied: How is the theme of love portrayed respectively in ‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning, ‘Mother in a Refugee Camp’ by Chinua Achebe, ‘Sonnet 116’ by Shakespeare, ‘Catrin’ by Gillian Clarke, ‘Sonnet 130’ by Shakespeare and ‘Le Belle Dame Sans Merci’ by John Keats? Love is a mixed emotion of happiness and sadness that is unavoidable. These poems explore love in three different ways: obsessive love, motherly love and unconditional romantic love. The poets use a wide range of literary devices and language techniques to convey their theme of love and to challenge the reader’s mind. ‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning is set in the Late Italian Renaissance. Browning’s inspiration for ‘My Last Duchess was from a Renaissance duke, Alfonso II of Ferrara, whose wife, Lucrezia, died in 1561, aged 17. Although Lucrezia came from a powerful and wealthy family, she never had a chance to enjoy her status as a duchess since she married Alfonso II at age 14, 3 years before her death. After her tragic death, Alfonso married the niece of the Count of Tyrol. The poem commences with the Duke presenting the painting of his Duchess to a messenger from the Count’s Family, commenting on the painting ‘looking as if she were alive.’ This simile is ambiguous, as it can hold the meaning that the Duchess has passed away – or it could be a compliment to the painter’s talent. Compared to ‘Sonnet 116’ which expresses love romantically, Browning presents a
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