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In the book A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor, the Misfit plays the villain role. In the story the character portrays a bizarre twist of being a villain. A Misfit may mean a person who is poorly accustomed to his environment. Therefore, this information helps in knowing the character that is likely to be met in the story. Indeed, the name Misfit explains the plot and theme of the story. The name is derived from the punishment that the Misfit got from the society. Unfortunately, He argues that he did not do anything wrong to deserve the kind of treatments he received. On the other hand, the poem My Last Duchess by Robert Browning talks about the Duke, a leader who was egocentric, jealous, and arrogant as in the case of the Misfit from O’Connor’s story. Therefore, this paper seeks to highlight the comparison in character traits as shown by the Misfit and the Duke, which portrays them as heartless and brutal villains.
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The two characters show egocentrism in a number of ways. As the poem begins, in My Last Duchess, the Duke shows off that he is truly controlling, he says, “since none puts by/ the curtain I have drawn for you, but I…”( Browning 9). Here the Duke was trying to insinuate that nobody apart from him had the authority to display the painting. Nevertheless, this is not a hidden fact because the painting was in his home and he owned it. Hence, it is only him who could draw the curtain to display the painting.
Certainly, the Duke added the statement to emphasize his control and self centeredness. Indeed, as the poem progressed, Duke’s love for ego is further mentioned, which is very important to him. This point is important to Duke since it shows that even his wife (the Duchess) is under his control. The Misfit on the other hand shows egocentrism when he declared that he would not wish to waste time serving a figure that he thought may not exist, and neither does he want to displease God. He declares that there is no pleasure but meanness. His ego does not allow him to worship God that he does not see, which he also believes may not exist altogether.
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Duke felt lack of control over his wife which led him to killing her. He says, “She had a heart..How shall I say?..too soon made glad, too easily impressed”. The Duke believed that the Duchess was only appreciative of the attention provided to her by other men; this showed a high degree of ego in the Duke who felt that other men were taking what rightfully belonged to him. Even though the Duke did not openly accuse his wife of adultery, he condemned her teasing behavior. He claimed that, all and each would draw from her alike the approving speech. The Duke felt that all the men who passed his wife evoked intimate reaction. He wanted his wife to smile at no other person but himself.
Jealousy was comparable between the two characters. The Jealousy of the Duke is depicted in the way he handled his wife’s smiling at other men. When the Duchess smiled at other men, the Duke’s anger was aroused so powerfully that he gave the command that she be killed. His jealousy emanated from his apparent lack of control over his wife. As a result, his morality and love for the Duchess were overwhelmed by the controlling behavior that existed in him. It can be deduced that, the Duke spoke about his wife not because she was important to him, but because it depicted his jealousy. This character is accelerated by the nonchalant and unemotional way that the Duke tells the story. The Misfit also portrays jealousy by refusing to heed to his grandmother’s plea to spare her life. The Desire to fulfill his revenge objective overshadowed the plea of his grandmother.
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Arrogance is also exhibited by the comments made by the Duke throughout his speeches. Firstly, he never believed that his former Duchess held a high status. He said that, my gift of a nine hundred years old name / with anybody’s gift . In this case, the Duke made it appear that he was kind when he decided to marry his wife. He wanted to his wife to recognize that she had got a wonderful gift by accepting to marry him. Later on, the Duke asserts his authority by stating that, I choose/Never to stoop. The Duke felt that he was so important to stop a behavior that annoyed him. Instead, the Duke ordered someone else to kill his wife because he believed that even the act of killing the wife was under him. The Duke further displays his arrogance when he stated that, Even had you/In speech. The irony in this statement is the Duke’s claim that he had not killed the wife in a speech that was constructed rhyming within the lines.
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Misfit also portrays the same arrogance witnessed with the Duke, he shot his own father claiming that did not believe in what was he was told. He therefore instructed his accomplices to murder his family one by one. The Misfit showed his arrogance when became angry with the Christ for not giving physical evidence regarding his existence thereby casting doubt in the legitimacy of the Christianity. Moreover, arrogance is displayed when the accomplices finish the murdering Misfit’s family. The Misfit took a moment to clean his glasses and then concluded that it could have been a good woman, had it been somebody to shoot every moment of her life.
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From the two Books, it can be concluded that although many writers in the nineteenth century included women in their stories, the existence of male voices always overshadowed the female characters. It is worth noting that women were defined by their relationships to men. The female characters were portrayed as weaker compared to their male counterparts. The women were mostly objectified and their actions were described depending on how they related to men.