Power is a major literary theme and can be seen all over the poetry collection. The three poems that show power at its strongest are; Ozymandias, The River God and My Last Duchess. Power is shown to have distinct levels through the characters in these poems, whether it can be a natural force, physical or psychological with mind games. Interestingly the three poems we have chose are about men, and all three characters could be accused of arrogance. Here are some notes on them:

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Can you explore them further by developing personal opinions and drawing wider links to other poems? You can also attempt these questions to help you revise:

  • How is power portrayed in each of the poems?
  • How are the differences in power portrayed between one of these male characters and Medusa?
  • What techniques do the poets use to present the theme of power?
  • Who is the most powerful character and why?
  • Which poem do you prefer and why?
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