• Created by: josh
  • Created on: 03-05-20 14:40


The poem is a sonnet - a fourteen-line single stanza form that originated in Italian love poetry and that was popularised in England by Shakespeare. Most sonnets break into two parts: an 'octet' (the first eight lines) and a 'sextet' (the last six lines), with the second part commenting on the first.

Ozymandias calls himself 'king of kings' - a phrase taken from Biblical language - which is somewhat of arrogant pride. It could imply that his subsequent obscurity was a punishment from God and that nature trumps everything.

A caesura is a break of meaning and rhythm within a line. Shelley uses several within the poem and each one has significant effects.
The first falls after 'Who said:' in the second line. The pause mimics the traveller's intake of breath before telling his story, dramatising the moment as well as creating distance between the description of the statue and the poet's retelling, almost as if recalling from memory.

Ozymandias is the greek name for the Egyptian Pharoah Ramesses II. Interest in Ancient Egpytian history was fashionable in the period and the importation of statues to British and French museums was beginning in earnest. It isn't clear whether Shelley would have seen statues himself and whether he was inspired by a real piece of sculpture.

The statue is of course ruined - the legs remain but the body has fallen. The face ('visage') lies on the sand, 'half-sunk' and 'shattered', making it hard to recognise. According to the inscription, which has survived, the king Ozymandias set up the statue to draw attention to his 'works' - but his own face has not survived, let alone the empire he may have once ruled.

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storm on the island


The poem is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter - blank verse. The lines are usually enjambed - the sentences do not stop with the lines - but the occasional line contains a full sentence, like the last, which gives a strong indication of reaching the end of the speaker's pondering.

Heaney really uses the full range of consonance, assonance, alliteration and other sound patterns in the poem. This helps create a noisy recreation of the wind and rain thrashing the bare island. The 'comfortable' explosions of waves means the explosions of bombs in Ireland.

The speaker compares the sea to a cat (fickle and liable to seem friendly, then scratch!), and the wind to an attacking aircraft ('while the wind dives | And strafes invisibly'). These comparisons have different effects. On the one hand we return to the idea of a community defending itself, as in the first lines, against an invader.

The speaker moves between defiance (at the start of the poem), awe, humour and finally admissions of fear. Yet throughout he maintains a calm tone, sure of the thickness of the stone walls around him. 


Heaney makes links from the waves to the people in Ireland for example storm on the island could be seen as the fight on the island and because Heaney is from island he is talking about the fighting in Ireland.

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The French Revolution
In 1789, the French people revolted against the monarchy and aristocracy, using violence and murder to overthrow those in power. Many saw the French Revolution as inspirational - a model for how ordinary, disadvantaged people could seize power. Blake alludes to the revolution in London, arguably suggesting that the experience of living there could encourage a revolution on

The poem describes a journey around London, offering a glimpse of what the speaker sees as the terrible conditions faced by the inhabitants of the city. Child labour, restrictive laws of property and prostitution are all explored in the poem.

The poem starts with a criticism of laws relating to ownership. The "chartered Thames" is a bitter reference to the way in which every aspect of life in London is owned, even the river, so often in other poems a symbol of life, freedom and the power of nature.

Blake's poem also criticises religion and its failures. The speaker draws attention to the cry of the chimney sweeper and the blackening of church walls, implying that the church as an institution is inactive, unwilling to help those in need.

It ends with a vision of the terrible consequences to be faced as a result of sexually transmitted disease

William Blake was a poet and artist who specialised in illuminated texts, often of a religious nature. He rejected established religion for various reasons. One of the main ones was the failure of the established Church to help children in London who were forced to work. Blake lived and worked in the capital, so was arguably well placed to write clearly about the
 conditions people who lived there faced

Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Published in 1794, this collection of poems, fully illustrated and originally hand-printed by Blake, aimed to show the "Two Contrary States of the Human Soul". The Songs of Innocence section contains poems which are positive in tone and celebrate love, childhood and nature. The Songs of Experience poems are obviously intended to provide a contrast, and illustrate the effects of modern life on people and nature. Dangerous industrial conditions, child labour, prostitution and poverty are just some of the topics Blake explores.

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Checking Out Me History

John Agard was born in British Guiana (now called Guyana) in the Caribbean, in 1949. He moved to the UK in the late 1977 and is well known for powerful and fun performances of his work.

He uses non-standard phonetic spelling (written as a word sounds) to represent his own accent, and writes about what it is like being black to challenge racist attitudes, especially those which are unthinking.

This poem draws on Agard's experience to make us look at the way history is taught, and at how we conceive our identity as we learn about cultural traditions and narratives. It becomes clear that Agard had to follow a history curriculum biased towards whites, especially British whites, so that he learned about mythical, nursery rhyme characters instead of living black people from the past.

He challenges this view of history and cites some major black figures to balance the bias and create a basis for his own identity.

He is most closely identified with a free verse form that uses the rhythms and dialect of Caribbean Creole to make a serious point in a witty way. However, many of his poems use the language and grammar of standard English, and are tightly constructed and metrically regular: the sonnets in Clever Backbone, for example.

‘Checking Out Me History'

The poem was published in a collection entitled Half-Caste and Other Poems (2007), a mixture of old and new poems concerned with the theme of race and cultural identity. Along with poems about violence, relationships, politics and grief, there are also humorous poems which explore everyday events from quirky or surprising points of view.

His mother was Portuguese and his father was black. His poems cover a wide range of subjects. As might be expected from his ethnic and cultural roots, race, ethnicity and culture are very important, but Agard’s work also draws on such diverse subjects as ancient mythology, academia, Caribbean folk tales, environmental issues, politics and patriotism.

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bayonet charge

Ted Hughes – The Hawk in the Rain.

‘Bayonet Charge’ was published in a collection of poetry entitled ‘The Hawk in the Rain’ in 1957. The collection received immediate acclaim in both England and America and the collection explores the real and symbolic lives of animals, ****** relationships, and stories of WWI.

Ted Hughes (1930-1998) was born in Yorkshire, in the North of England, and grew up in the countryside. After serving in the RAF for two years, he won a scholarship to Cambridge University where he studied Archaeology and Anthropology. The themes of the countryside, human history and mythology therefore already deeply influenced his imagination by the time he started writing poetry as a student.

He made his name as a poet in the late 1950s and 1960s and also wrote many well-known children's books including The Iron Man (which was filmed as the Iron Giant). It is for his poetry that he remains important. He was poet laureate from 1984 until his death from cancer in 1998.

This poem seems to be heavily influenced by the fact that Hughes’ father was a veteran of the First World War (having survived his regiment’s massacre at Gallipoli), as well as by the poetry of Wilfred Owen.

Ted Hughes served in the RAF, but he did not see combat. He spent much of his time in the services reading

Bayonet Charge is perhaps unusual for a Ted Hughes poem in that it focuses on a nameless soldier in the First World War (1914-18).

It describes the experience of 'going over-the-top'. This was when soldiers hiding in trenches were ordered to 'fix bayonets' (attach the long knives to the end of their rifles) and climb out of the trenches to charge an enemy position twenty or thirty metres away. The aim was to capture the enemy trench. The poem describes how this process transforms a solider from a living thinking person into a dangerous weapon of war. Going ‘over the top’ usually resulted in heavy casualties.

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Beatrice Garland has said: "I spend a lot of the day listening to other people's worlds". Her poem Kamikaze appears to extend this habit into her imaginative writing, as she recounts a story told by someone else about a place and time beyond the poet's own direct experience.

Beatrice Garland's poem reflects the immense social pressure brought to bear on the pilots to carry out kamikaze missions as part of Japan's war effort during World War Two. Although we may think of this poem as being about a specific military practice carried out by Japanese pilots during wartime, the poem also has a strong contemporary relevance. Instead of simply thinking of the poem as being about a military strategy in the distant past, it might also prompt the thought that suicide missions are part of contemporary conflicts too and are very much in the news.

During the Second World War, the term 'kamikaze' was used for Japanese fighter pilots who were sent on suicide missions. They were expected to crash their warplanes into enemy warships. The word 'kamikaze' literally translates as 'divine wind'.

The poem perhaps prompts us to, think about the consequences of suicide missions for families in the modern world as well as in past conflicts.

The structure Garland uses in Kamikaze - a story recounted in one voice, with an ending in someone else's direct words - is one she uses in other poems too, such as A Private Life and partly in A Kosovan Ghost Story.

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my last duchess

The characters mentioned in this poem are based on real life, historical figures. The narrator is Duke Alfonso II who ruled a place in northern Italy called Ferrara between 1559 and 1597. The Duchess of whom he speaks was his first wife, Lucrezia de' Medici who died in 1561 aged 17, only two years after he married her. In real life, Lucrezia died in suspicious circumstances and might have been poisoned.

Robert Browning (1812-1889) was heavily influenced as a youngster by his father's extensive collection of books and art. His father was a bank clerk and collected thousands of books, some of which were hundreds of years old and written in languages such as Greek and Hebrew. By the time he was five, it was said that Browning could already read and write well. He was a big fan of the poet Shelley and asked for all of Shelley's works for his thirteenth birthday. By the age of fourteen, he'd learned Latin, Greek and French. Browning went to the University of London but left because it didn't suit him.

He married fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett but they had to run away and marry in secret because of her over-protective father. They moved to Italy and had a son, Robert. Father and son moved to London when Elizabeth died in 1861.

The poem is set in 1564, three years after the death of the Duchess. An emissary (messenger or representative) has been sent to see the Duke from the Count of Tyrol. The Count is the father of the Duke's next wife (he married three times in all). The Duke shows the emissary a picture of his late wife and remarks on her character, suggesting that she was unfaithful to him - and hinting that he might have killed her because of it.

She was the first of his three wives and is believed to be ‘the last duchess’ of the poem. She died four years after her wedding. The Duke’s second wife also died. The Duke married his last wife, Eleanora Gonzaga, in 1572 – and she outlived him!

Browning is best known for his use of the dramatic monologue. My Last Duchess is an example of this and it also reflects Browning's love of history and European culture as the story is based on the life of an Italian Duke from the sixteenth century.

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