Politics and Authority


The people of London are in a helpless situation, because of the decisions made by the government:

  • ‘I wander through each chartered street’
  • ‘mind-forged manacles’
  • ‘Every black’ning Church appalls’
  • ‘the hapless Soldiers sigh’

My Last Duchess

The Duke failed to have complete control over his wife, whilst she was alive so he controls her now that she is dead:

  • ‘painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive’
  • ‘Will’t please you look sit and look at her?’
  • ‘(since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)’
  • ‘Half-flush that dies along her throat’
  • ‘I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together.’
  • ‘There she stands As If alive.’

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Every person is fallible. Unfortunately, the decisions made by those with authority can result in calamitous consequences.

  • ‘ “Charge for the guns!” he said.’
  • ‘ “Forward, the Light Brigade!” ’
  • ‘Someone had blunder’d’
  • ‘Theirs not to make reply… but to do and die’
  • ‘Boldly they rode and well’
  • ‘O the wild charge they made!’


The photographer captures distressing moments that are experienced in war-zones. He also shows this to a Western audience but the government control what is to be seen:

  • ‘spools of sufferings set out in ordered rows’
  • ‘He has a job to do.’
  • ‘his editor will pick out five or six for Sunday’s supplement
  • ‘reader’s eyeballs prick with tears’
  • ‘where he earns his living… they do not care.’

Storm on the Island

The storm represents the political divisions that were causing conflict in Ireland:

  • ‘We are prepared’
  • ‘The wizened earth has never troubled us’
  • ‘leaves and branches Can raise a chorus in a gale’
  • ‘no natural shelter’
  • ‘You might think that the sea is company’
  • We are bombarded by the empty air’
  • ‘Strange, it is a huge nothing that we fear.’


The soldiers are performing their duty; they have been deployed to kill rebels:

  • ‘we got sent out’
  • ‘Well myself and somebody else and somebody else are all of the same mind’
  • ‘Three of a kind all letting fly’
  • ‘out on patrol I walk right over it week after week’
  • ‘Then I’m home on leave.’


The ideas and laws change, as a result of the government members making decisions for the nation:

  • ‘If buildings were paper, I might feel their drift’
  • ‘see how easily they fall away on a sigh’
  • ‘a shift in the direction of the wind’


The government had power over the Kamikaze pilots and coaxed them into performing suicide missions:

  • ‘Her father embarked at sunrise’
  • ‘samurai sword’
  • ‘a shaven head of full of powerful incantations’
  • ‘journey into history’

Checking Out Me History

The speaker is angry that the government determine what is worthy of being studied:

  • ‘Dem tell me Wha dem want to tell me’
  • ‘Bandage up me eye with me own history’
  • Blind me to me own identity’
  • ‘dem never tell me bout…’