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Robert Browning 1812-1889 My Last Duchess Many poems must be read more than once to be fully understood It is often that one may notice something that wasnt noticed the first time around It is also possible for a poem to be read once and have received the full meaning Sometimes poems leave one thinking because the poem doesnt provide enough information for an affirmative conclusion My Last Duchess provides examples of leaving readers unclear of the full meaning and unclear of affirmative conclusions By using reader-response criticism and new historicism one may fully understand or understand as much as possible the meanings of Brownings work Before women held jobs outside of the home before men became less dominate than women before intense science fiction devastated the minds of disbelieving alien followers and possibly before women started to perform acceptable grooming - there was poetry When My Last Duchess was written in 1842 women held a different place in society than they do today Women were objects Men ruled the world Only Mother Nature and Mother Mary had any say in anything Times have changed Women have positions in government and have as much power as men When this poem was created women were merely the trophy of men Much like they have become augmented trophies of men today women of the past had no say in anything When people read this poem they may think why does the woman put up with the duke why doesnt she leave him Back then women listened to the man they belonged to he was their master Today a woman with even the slightest bit of common sense does not put up with the attitude of any man Too easily impressed she liked whateer She looked on and her looks went everywhere To an understanding human being of today this means she was friendly and smiled
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