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Life and Death in Frost’s Stopping by Woods and Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle

Life and Death in Frost’s Stopping by Woods and Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle

Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” reflect deeply on both life and death. Frost interprets death as rest and peace from a hard and deserving life, whereas Thomas depicts death as an early end to an unfulfilled life. Contrary to Thomas’s four characters who rage against death because of its premature arrival, Frost’s speaker accepts death but is inclined to live for promises; therefore both Frost and Thomas choose life over death, but for conflicting reasons.

Robert Frost’s deeply-rooted beliefs in nature influence him to view death positively. Through enticing images of solitude and relaxation and peaceful diction, Frost explains why nature and death coincide. Frost makes “mysteries, such as death, resolve into the natural” and suddenly the “mysterious becomes simple” (Nicholl 194). His choice to use “darkest evening of the year” helps to set the mystery surrounding death, but the simplicity of the character and the scenery bring death closer to nature; “suddenly the absolute is brought near, and made almost visible” (Nicholl 194). The individual man encountering woods that are “lovely, dark, and deep” create a contradiction of feelings that intertwine the mystery and simplicity of death. The “dark” and “deep” foreshadow the fears and enigmas of dying. The “lovely” negates the anxiety and demonstrates the excitement and desire to die. Though death seems scary and unknown, it is also wonderful and peaceful to the central character. The traveler appears desiring a rest and death is an enchanting choice. With pleasant images as “easy wind and downy flake,” the man becomes a…

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…ngness” (Roberts 378). Frost?s traveler is faced with a choice of life or death and chooses life not to attain grandeur but to keep promises. Thomas?s four kinds of men maintain the right to fight against death for life, but only because life is too short and greatness is yet to be achieved. Frost induces that death should be embraced because it is synonymous with sleep, whereas Thomas concludes that death should be contested due to its hindrance of achievements, but similarly both Frost and Thomas choose the alternative of life to that of death.

Works Cited:

Frost, Robert. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Julia Reidhead. 5th ed. 2 vols. New York: Norton, 1998.

Thomas, Dylan. ?Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.? Sound and Sense. Eighth edition. Ed. Laurence Perrine. Orlando: Harcourt Brace, 1992.

Comparing Males in Browning’s Porphyria’s Lover and My Last Duchess

Controlling Males in Browning’s Porphyria’s Lover and My Last Duchess

The death of the female beloved is the only way deemed possible by the insecure, possessive male to seize her undivided attention. This beloved woman represents the “reflector and guarantor of male identity. Hence, the male anxiety about the woman’s independence for her liberty puts his masculine self-estimation at risk” (Maxwell 29). The jealous and controlling males in Robert Browning’s “Porphyria’s Lover” and “My Last Duchess” possess a fervent desire to fix and monopolize their unconstrained female beloveds. Due to a fear of death, both speakers attempt to achieve control and deny object loss; by turning their lovers (once subjects) into objects, they ultimately attain the role of masterful subject.

In the poem “Porphyria’s Lover,” the lover begins by describing the unfolding scene to an unidentified listener: “and from her form / Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl, / And laid her soiled gloves by, untied / Her hat and let the damp hair fall” (10-13). The lover, left alone in the cottage, relates the events of the dark, stormy evening in which he anxiously waits “with heart fit to break” for his beloved Porphyria to enter. “Evidently, her absence is due to her attendance at a ‘gay feast,’ one of the ‘vainer ties’ which Porphyria presumably cultivated” (Magill 338). When she finally arrives, he tells the reader: “she sat down by my side / And called me. When no voice replied” (14-15). Porphyria speaks to him, “murmuring how she loved [him]” while the lover silently watches, becoming the mastered object to be petted and “loved.” However, when he looks into her eyes, he knows that she loves him: “at last I knew / Porphyria worshipped …

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…nners of the lover and the Duke. Fearing the final loss of life, both murderers attempt to overpower their female subjects; they turn their objects of desire into beautiful objects which can never be lost, simultaneously attaining the role of masterful subject.

Works Cited

Ingersoll, Earl G. “Lacan, Browning, and the Murderous Voyeur: “Porphyria’s Lover” and “My Last Duchess.” Victorian Poetry 28 (1990): 151-157.

Marchino, Lois A. “My Last Duchess.” Masterplots II: Poetry Series. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Vol. 4. Pasadena: Salem, 1992. 1443-1445.

Maxwell, Catherine. “Browning’s ‘Porphyria’s Lover.'” Explicator 52 (1993): 27-30.

Mitchell, Domhnall. “Browning’s ‘My Last Duchess.'” Explicator 50 (1992): 74-75.

“Robert Browning.” Critical Survey of Poetry: English Language Series. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Vol. 1. Englewood Cliffs: Salem, 1982. 338, 341.

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