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English Literature

Stevie Smith: River God


Ozymandias, My Last Duchess

  • All the poems have one clear, distinct voice.
  • Each poem is built around a character who has some distinctly unpleasant qualities.
  • All the poems are about power in some sense. Ozymandias was incredibly powerful in his time but is now merely a remnant of the past. The Duke is powerful in the society of his time and perhaps demonstrated his personal power by killing his wife. The River God exerts his power through drowning people.
  • None of the characters actually exists in any real sense: Ozymandias is ancient history; the Duke and even his title died out centuries ago; the River God is a mythical creation.
  • The characters in each poem clearly display a dark side to their nature.

The Ruined Maid

  • Black humour is used in both poems.
  • Both poems use dramatic monologue.
  • The theme of women being used and abused for an individual's personal pleasure is in both poems.
  • Don't judge something on first appearance - there might be much more to the individual or situation than meets the eye.

Back to Poetry: Character and voice index

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