Uploaded by kirsty_robinson89

Presentation of Women in LBDSM and MLD Essay Plan

Compare the ways the writers present a woman in ‘La Belle Dame Sans
Merci’ and ‘My Last Duchess’.
Paragraph 1 – Introduction
- Summarise the two poems and explain how women are central to their story.
- Give some brief contextual information about when are both set and attitudes regarding
women at the time.
- Give brief ways in which the writers present the women.
Paragraph 2 – Structure
La Belle Dame Sans Merci
Ballad form - tells the story of a knight’s encounter with ‘a faery’s child’ who
entrances, bewitches and entraps him with her beauty and supernatural powers.
the woman is presented as being a Circe-like figure: an enchantress who attracts
lovers to destroy them. The beautiful woman is a femme fatale
the atmosphere is intriguing from the start, with questions raised for the reader
about doomed knight-at-arms and whether he is a victim; some may consider the
woman is a victim who seeks revenge on men
the ballad rhymes the second and fourth line of each stanza, perhaps emphasising
the strangeness and eeriness of the woman
The use of repeated questions and archaic language is typical of the ballad form
and repetition is used to engage the reader; the final stanza echoes the first, but
with some variation - why? How does this present the woman?
My Last Duchess
Dramatic Monologue form - Duke tells the story of his relationship with his
wayward wife, whom he believes to have been cheating on him and who belittles
Sinister atmosphere is created from the beginning through the monologue form
and this is coupled with the use of iambic pentameter
Ultimately, women are suggested to be inferior to men through the Duke’s
Paragraph 3 – Descriptive Skills
La Belle Dame Sans Merci
the woman is described as being ‘Full beautiful’ with her long hair and is ‘light’
of foot. Reference to her ‘wild’ eyes is repeated, perhaps reflecting their beauty
and the strangeness and wildness of the fairy
it is a forewarning of her power and ability to entrance, she sounds ethereal
My Last Duchess
on the other hand, when the Duke describes the Duchess, he does it by telling the
reader about ‘her spot of joy’ and he talks about ‘the depth and passion of its
earnest glance’
He obsesses about the look on her face, however the question is about how the
woman is presented.
Through this, she is presented as an object – something whose only purpose is to
be admired and look pretty
What does this suggest about the way women were perceived in Renaissance
Paragraph 4 – Language Techniques
La Belle Dame sans Merci
the poet presents the woman as spiteful and manipulative. The title suggests that
the beautiful lady is a woman without pity; she lures the knight to her ‘elfin grot’
but abandons him
the language used in the poem all has the semantic field of death: ‘withered’,
‘fading rose’, ‘withereth’, ‘death-pale’, ‘And no birds sing’; all suggest an
atmosphere of doom.
The woman is literally the man’s doom.
pathetic fallacy is also used to emphasise the woman’s power. While the woman
appears to love the knight, it is summer and she feeds him on the beauty of nature;
afterwards winter comes: ‘the harvest’s done’, ‘the cold hill side’, ‘the sedge is
My Last Duchess
At the end of the poem, the Duke likens himself to a Roman God taming a seahorse a meaningful comparison which suggests that he ‘tamed’ his last Duchess.
In this metaphor, the sea horse represents his last Duchess, suggesting that women
are wild animals who need to be tamed like he tamed her.
Summarise your analysis