Compare how poets present violence and anti-social behaviour in 4 poems.

an essay discussing the theme and idea of violence and anti-social behaviour in the poems Hitcher, Stealing, My Last Duchess and The Laboratory

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  • Created on: 23-05-11 17:09
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How do poets present violence or anti-social behaviour?
The poems "Hitcher", "Stealing" , "My last Duchess" and "The Laboratory" present anti-social
behaviour and violence as being necessary and part of everyday life or being psychologically
forced to because there is no other solution. The speakers in all of these forms of a dramatic
monologue don't mind turning anti-social/violent behaviour and take pleasure in it. Both "My last
Duchess" and "Hitcher" use numerous techniques to show the casual presence of violence and
anti-social behaviour in their speaker's lives. The Duke in "My last Duchess" doesn't really seem
bothered of the fact that he has committed a murder and we get a feeling that it's not new to him.
Similarly the speaker in "Hitcher" also seems like he/she that this kind of violent behaviour is part
of their nature also several techniques suggest that he/she had intended to commit this murder as
the set off. Whereas the speakers in "The Laboratory" and "Stealing" have both resulted to
violence because of anger, due to stresses of life. In "The Laboratory" the speaker is angry
because of her partner cheating on her, so she wants to poison them. Also in "Stealing" the
speaker feels angry because he/she feels that he/she has no meaning in life, thus stealing things
that represent what he/she desires e.g. the guitar because he/she would like to learn how to play
one. All of these poems utilize various language and structure techniques in order to suggest that
violence is part of life.
Both "My last Duchess" and "Hitcher" use structure which creates the casualness of the violent
behaviour and gives the sense that violence is part of their everyday lives. Browning's use of
iambic pentameter really does imitate natural speech as the unstressed then stressed pattern best
fits human speech. The poem is about a murder and the fact that the iambic pentameter makes the
poem more natural highlights the idea that violence is almost natural to the Duke. This is also
presented through Browning's use of enjambment, which also imitates natural speech as the lines
flow, just like actual speech. Similarly Armitage's "Hitcher" employs enjambment to show the
ordinariness hostility of the speaker's life/day. As the lines flow we get this sense of movement,
the whole poem flows. This shows that violence is merely part of the speaker's practice as the
violence and anti-social behaviour is imbedded into the flow of the poem. Also the language
reinforces the sense that violence is normal for the unstable speaker. The speaker states that the
forecast for the day was "moderate to fair" this shocking as the speaker has committed a murder
but all of this is alright for him/her. In addition all of the stanzas are arrow shaped; proposing that
violence is present all throughout the speaker's life. "My Last Duchess" and "Hitcher" use structure
to show that violence and anti-social behaviour are part everyone's lives.
Equally, "The Laboratory" and "Stealing" also occupy structural features to show that violence and
ant-social behaviour are both well abundant in all of our lives. However In "The Laboratory" and
"Stealing" the speakers are quite different from the speakers in "My Last Duchess" and "Hitcher".
As they are more forced into undertaking a violent and anti-social behaviour, but they're willing to
do it. Browning in "The Laboratory" implies that violence is dominant in society. This idea is shown
through the whole poem and the length of the poem supports this. The poem has a very large
length, and is large because of the fact that there are lots of stanzas due to a lot of gaps and
spaces. If the poem had less stanzas and was more compact than the size would've decreased
dramatically. This size of the poem reflects the idea that violence plays a great role in our lives and
is consistent. Thus Browning's use of size suggests that he could have intended to present violence
as being very major in everybody's lives. Similarly, in "Stealing" Duffy also lays out her poem in a
certain manner to show the regularity of violence and anti-social behaviour. Duffy's stanzas all have
five lines in them; this consistent pattern implies that violence is forever ongoing and very present
in life. All These two poems exploit structure in a way to fully present violence and anti-social
behaviour as being part of everyday life, almost necessary or vital.

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My Last Duchess" And "Hitcher" both use language to present violent speakers, with a lack of
care towards their violent actions. In "Hitcher" Armitage's use of colloquial language gives us a
sense of the speaker's lack of care. The speaker states "I let him have it" and then moves onto say
"and didn't even swerve" this use of colloquial language shows that the speakers violent
behaviour is seen as normal for him, hence the lack of care.…read more


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