Write the summary and analysis of the poem "A Woman's Last Word" by Robert Browning.

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"A Woman's Last Word" is, literally, the wife telling her husband it is time for them to end the fight that has apparently been going on between them and go to sleep for the night.

The argument has been loud and vicious, accompanied by weeping and wild words. Now, however, the wife is asking that they "hush and hide the talking" and go to bed "cheek on cheek!"

She is conceding the argument's starting point, whatever it may have been, so that she will not endanger her "Eden" - her marriage - through falsehood, as did Eve in lying after tempting Adam to join her in eating the forbidden apple. Now, she appeals to her husband,

Be a god and hold me
With a charm!
Be a man and fold me
With thine arm!

She is ready and willing to learn from him and agree with his point of view - "I will speak thy speech, Love, Think thy thought." She needs the rest of this night to collect herself after the fighting before resuming sexual relations - 

That shall be to-morrow
Not to-night:
I must bury sorrow
Out of sight:

but the wife is at peace and happy. All is again right with the relationship and she is ready to "fall asleep, Love, Loved by thee."

The poem is written in a series of four line stanzas, with the first and third lines rhymed and the second and fourth lines rhymed. The very regular rhythm pattern could be called trochaic pentameter; the first and third lines have three feet with the stressed syllable first, while the second and fourth lines have two feet.

Let's con-tend no more, Love,
Strive nor weep:
All be as be-fore, Love,
---On-ly sleep!


sunshine250495 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

'A Woman's Last Word' is a dramatic monologue written by Robert Browning. The speaker is a woman, who speaks to her invisible lover. There is a bit of ambiguity about the context of the poem, but we can conclude there was an argument between the two, and the lady is trying to wrap up the argument. She says:

Let's contend no more, Love,

Strive nor weep

Their fight reminds her of two hawks fighting. She feels words are evil, as words actually drove Eve in believing the serepent and eating the apple, that in turn made her lose the paradise of Eden. She wants to save her own 'Eden' or marriage, and thus, urges her husband to not argue but show their love to each other.

She agress to take up the conventional feminine role of passivity and submission. She will obey her lover, 'speak thy speech' and 'think thy thought'. She will lay her whole body and soul in his arms.

But all this while she is actually also dominating her husband. By delving into the conventional feminine roles she is forcing him into his masculine counterparts. She subtley forces him to hold her, and fold her. She does not let him speak at all, calling the words 'wild' and urging him to sleep, and to hide the talking.

However she will do all this tommorow night, because tonight she will cry a little. Perhaps in ways here she is denying physical fulfillment to him.

Throughout the poem the woman keeps on belittling the man, by repeating the word 'Love' again and again.

Thus the title can be understood in two ways: One she is actually subjugating herself to her husband in deference to his wishes in order to save her marriage. Thus, this is her 'last word' as her own assertive self.

Otherwise, she is not allowing him to speak, and thus having the last word herself.

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