Look much positive change, still shows many

Look around and you will see examples of a pervading need to control in many aspects of society and culture. Throughout time, authors have intertwined themes of control in all genres, using it to create suspense, build characters and explain societal constructs. Literature written during and about the Victorian era, although a time of much positive change, still shows many examples of control in society and of people.  If we look at the works of popular British poet, Alfred Tennyson, a Lord in his own rite during the Victorian era,  it’s noticeable that he uses themes of men controlling woman frequently. An example of this is during his poem, “The Princess”, where during a reading by the speaker of a story of a heroic women, the character Walter pats his sisters head and asks where woman like that are now. His sister Lilias response, clearly echoing some of the frustration of the current times, answers that there are thousands of woman like that but men and convention keep them down. If we take the theme of control a step further, and look at the control of woman that is written about by so many, men included, you will find this theme to be pervasive throughout literature, as it clearly reflects societal norms, even during times of uprising and revolt, like the Victorian era. Another author who repeats this theme in some of his works, and who we will look at in more detail, is Robert Browning and his poem, “My Last Duchess”. Although not written during the Victorian era, the poem itself takes place during that time and showcases the attitudes of some men, specifically a nobleman, toward women, their rights, and their place in the home and society.  In this poem, set in Victorian Italy, we see  the Duke of Ferrara needing to control his late wife, even from the grave. An attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner is shown by the Duke as he is speaking to the Count. Browning demonstrates the blurred lines of power and control of men in the social, political, and domestic spheres shown in Victorian Italy.


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