Flashcards in Power and Conflict Deck (7)
Weather is real enemy
"merciless iced east winds that knive us" — personification
4x repetition "But nothing happens"
Regular form (stanza + line length, ABBA rhyme)
War changes men
"half-known faces" -> soldiers are mutilated OR soldiers are changed mentally (including burying party)
"all their eyes are ice" -> died from exposure (literal) OR became cold/emotionless
War changes nature (or our perception thereof)
"poignant misery of dawn" -> normally happiest time of day; warped into the worst time of day (when soldiers went over the top). Contradiction/juxtaposition
"invincible spring" -> ironic: spring offences were brutal
God is dead
"love of God seems dying" -> shocking in context
Before Volta (line 21):
Nature is God
"led by her" -> personified as a goddess
"voice of mountain echoes"
Beauty of nature
"sparkling light", "like a swan" (purity)
Pride and guilt
"an act of stealth and troubled pleasure"
"proud of his skill"
Power and darkness of nature:
"a huge peak, black and huge", "grim", "upreared its head"
Nature blocks him from God
"towered up between me and the stars"
Changed attitude — no longer proud
"trembling oars"; retreats.
"grave and serious mood", "darkness" => depression
"solitude", "blank desertion" => abandoned by God
The Charge of the Light Brigade
Setting: Battle of Balaclava in Crimean War (against Russia)
Power of enemy
"mouth of Hell" -> religious imagery -> god-like power
"thunder'd" -> elemental power
"Cannon" repetition, "flashed", "thunder'd" => power of enemy
Dactylic rhythm ("half a league") -> horses
100 deaths were shocking at the time
"valley of death" (Old Testament)
Return from "jaws of Death" is heroic
"noble six hundred" => treated as a group, not individuals
"horse and hero fell"
Critical of leadership — controversial in context
"Some one had blunder'd"
Stanza 4 is longest -> struggle
My Last Duchess
Setting: 16th Century Renaissance Italy
Total control / psycopathy
"none puts by the curtain" -> wife only controlled in death
"I gave commands" -> used power to kill her
iambic pentameter -> symbol of control
First person pronouns "My", "me!"
"I choose never to stoop"
No "skill in speech", but iambic pentameter is symbol of intelligence and eloquence
"too soon made glad"
"bough of cherries" (symbolise sex), but "white mule" = innocence
Obsession with love/marriage
"Neptune taming a sea-horse" -> male dominance
"its earnest glance", "my object" -> objectification
Power of art
Duchess is preserved in a painting, "looking as if alive"
He has control over his collection
Storm on the Island
Preparations by community
"sink walls in rock", "squat"
Poem is one stanza -> compact and sturdy
"We are prepared." -> strong start
Power of nature
military imagery: "wind dives and strafes"
savagery: "spits like a tame cat turned savage
personification: leaves and branches "raise a tragic chorus"
violence: "pummels" shows intent + personification
Nature doesn't support life
"no trees", "wizened earth" is not arable (no hay)
Men are not actually hurt by nature c.f. Exposure "knives"
"dives and strafes" -> not lethal
Context: Shelley was a Romantic, disliked monarchies and oppression and held radical political views (French Revolution)
Arrogance of Pharaoh in life
"king of kings"
"Look on my works ... and despair!" -> irony ("nothing beside remains")
"sneer of cold command": aggressive language -> oppression/tyranny
Civilisation is transient/insignificant. Nature is more powerful
"shatter'd visage", "decay": even the most powerful cannot control nature and time
Form: iambic pentameter often disrupted -> human structures easily destroyed
Polyphonic/second-hand: distances reader from pharaoh
Power of art over civilisation/man
passions "survive" -> permanence
we only hear the pharaoh's words through his pedestal
"hand that mock'd them" ambiguous -> artist's hand ridiculing pharaoh? -> greater power