October 3, 2007
These greater writers that we study have a variety of colors, of emotions, to paint on their canvas; love, happiness, rage, and through those simple one answer emotions comes a whole range of complexity and different levels that are unlocked through the words of these master writers. The common theme between Edgar Allan Poe, Barbara Hamby, and Robert Browning’s writings is rage and revenge. Although there are some differences in literary terms there is a main theme of revenge throughout the journey of love.
In Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado deals with the rage of man. There is an underlying conflict between Fortunato and Montresor, by the tension created within the dialogue. Montresor notices the weaknesses of Fortunato, Amontillado that is a alcoholic drink, and uses that against Fortunato to put into action his ultimate revenge. Edgar Allen Poe’s writing style is somewhat dark and mysterious, the imagery that is created throughout the story adds to the darkness of Montresor’s soul. The very setting of the story, “ crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris”, adds to the theme of revenge in a sense that there is a mysterious and sinful taste about Montresor’s intentions. Nearing the end of the story Montresor eventually locks Fortunato in the walls of the crypt, tier after tier being piled on him till you can no longer hear his drunken screams. In the beginning of the story there is a element of foreshadowing when Fortunato tells Montresor that this trip to the cellar will not kill him, due to his allergies to the mold down the in crypt, which is also ironic because indeed it does.
In Robert Browning’s The Last Duchess there is not the same theme as Edgar Allan’s story, but there is a change of past revenge taken place and remembering what had gone wrong. The speaker in the poem is widowed and reading to be married to a once young and beautiful girl. He goes about to reminisce about his past wife, the young Duchess, and her light hearted decisions that landed her to only a portrait place on his wall. There are many phrases in the poem the elude to the Duchess’ unfaithfulness and of sexual deeds, “she thanked men,-good! But thanked somehow-I know not how,”. The speaker then thinks of how she reacts to other men and a twinge of jealously strikes his heart, and soon all that is left of the pure Duchess is a painted portrait that cannot capture the beauty and the life the late Duchess once had.
In Barbara Hamby’s Ode to American English stresses the little things that get under the narrator’s skin. She says that she misses the “pill-popping Hungarian goulash of everything…” which sets a sarcastic tone to the whole poem. Also throughout the poem the descriptions of the poem are taken from other countries and cultures, which really add to the saying America is a melting pot. Also in Tony Hoagland’s America he states the pop culture that adds to the American culture. He states that in his dream how he stabbed his father, and money flowed out, that gives the reader the impression that money clogs the carefree life that you live, and that it cannot “buy happiness”.