Critically Look at the Last Duchess From Feminist Point of View Completed

July 12, 2017 | Author: sumanlaudari | Category: Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman
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Critically analyze ‘The Last Duchess’ from Marry Wollstonecraft (feminist) point of view. Published in 1792, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was the first great feminist treatise. Here, she says that women have to be intellectual because intellectuality is the only means to unleash them from their conventional role. Wollstonecraft preached that intellect will always govern and sought “to persuade women to endeavor to acquire strength, both of mind and body, and to convince them that the soft phrases, susceptibility of heart, delicacy of sentiment, and refinement of taste, are almost synonymous with epithets of weakness.” She says that ideas have deep effect in our personality and it is good education that helps to create better ideas in our mind. There are some people in our society who do not have any idea but only clichés in their mind thus they are living with the same conservation in and they neither go ahead nor let others instead they create different types of impediment. She says that education helps them to be intellectual and free them from conventional role. She classifies ideas into two groups as habitual and instantaneous and further says that the ideas that are habitual are worthless since they are shaped according to the old norms and values of the society. Now let us talk about, ‘The Last Duchess’ according to feminist point of view. From the very beginning of the poem, as Wollstonecraft says, the women are taken as the objects that are used for different purposes because we do not know whether the duchess was intellectual or not. Here what we can anticipate is that if the Duchess was intellectual and educated she could defend herself and claim her rights. For example when he describes the portrait, he tells how his wife was. It is described that she was just an object whose sole aim was to please him which explicitly tells the readers that the women then were forced to perform the same conservative roles. And in a roundabout way, confesses that he murdered his wife. The duke thinks that the portrait is under his control, he thinks that she cannot protest she cannot play the coquette; she cannot deject his commands; she cannot do anything except smile out at the duke and to anyone else the duke allows to view the portrait. He says that she only existed to do his bidding which tells readers that the women were very much suppressed that they were not allowed to do anything else except what the society or their family wants. For example the bound feet culture in China. In ancient China, as soon as a girl would be three or four, her feet would be bound and had to stay inside their homes until they would be married. The duke also says that she enjoyed having company with other men, thus was unfaithful but his accusation could be merely a fabrication; nevertheless it is uncertain. To conclude, ‘My Last Duchess’ is a poem where the women characters are treated as mere objects and servile creatures whose main aim is to please their men in one or the other way or there smile would be stopped, their happiness would come to an end, their whole life would crash. Thus, from Wollstonecraft’s point of view, is not a good text since it talks about suppressing women not uplifting their situations. Submitted By Suman Laudari

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