My Last Duchess

My Last Duchess Who is the Duke of Ferrara? It is more difficult for some to mask their personality traits than others. Even though the Duke of Ferrara, in My Last Duchess, a poem by Robert Browning, attempted to conceal his traits he could still be seen through. In the midst of a party, the duke steps aside for the negotiation of an alliance. The more the duke aims to cover his traits the more apparent they became. The duke did not intend for his arrogance to be shown as much as it was.

The poem had an arrogant tone. He made a point to put emphasis on himself or I. The extra comment since none puts by the curtain I have drawn for you, but I was not required. He felt the gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name should not be equal to lesser gifts from others. The one trait that was the most apparent was his possessiveness.

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The first line sums it up with, Thats my last Duchess painted on the wall. It would have been just as simple to say, look at the painting on the wall. As they are returning to the party the duke is sure to point out more of his expensive artwork. The first thought of his shrewdness is the whereabouts of his last duchess. He never mentions her location. Questions of her death, banishment, or incarceration come to mind. When the duke could not handle the smiles anymore, he ordered them to cease.

The smiles stopped. All the effort put into hiding his personality was useless. He was transparent. No matter how much energy is put into hiding ones personality, the true person will always be seen. Bibliography none.

My Last Duchess

A dramatic monologue is a poem in which a single speaker who is not
the poet recites the entire poem at a critical moment. The speaker
has a listener within the poem, but the reader of the poem is also one
of the speakers listeners. In a dramatic monologue, the reader learns
about the speaker’s character from what the speaker says. Robert
Browning is said to have perfected this form of writing. One of his
most famous dramatic monologues is “My Last Duchess.”
The speaker in the poem is an Italian duke who ordered the murder of
his wife and is at the offset of the poem showing off the portrait to
his future son-in-law. Browning lets the reader know in a roundabout
way that the duke only shows the portrait of his late wife to select
strangers. In doing this, the speaker is able to show off his wealth to
the stranger and he seems to enjoy telling these people the story of
how he ordered her to death. The speaker tries to convey to the
people that he shows the portrait to that he is in control of
everything that takes place in his household. In lines 8-9, the speaker
interjects “since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you” In
this line, the speaker is saying that he doesn’t draw the curtain for
just anyone. He has drawn the curtain particularly for his future
son-in-law and he should feel privileged because the portrait can only
be seen under the speaker’s complete control.
The Duke believes that he should be shown complete respect and be
the center of attention while in his home. The Duke thought his wife
should be for him and his pleasures only. He did not like it when Fra
Pandolf, the artist who painted the portrait said:
“Fra Pandolf chanced to say ‘Her mantle laps
Over my lady’s wrist too much,’ or, ‘Paint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-flush that dies along her throat.”
to the duchess in lines 16-18. And then again in lines 27-28, the duke
tells about how some “officious fool” brought her cherries from the
orchard.
The duke also could not stand the fact that the duchess treated
everyone and every gift equally; “all and each / Would draw from her
alike the approving speech, / Or blush, at least” (lines 29-31). The
duke thought of his wife as one of his possessions and she could
never be treated as his equal; “E’en then would be some stooping;
and I choose / Never to stoop” (lines 42-43). Now her portrait is
behind a curtain and he has absolute power over it, just like he
thought he should have had over his wife while she was alive. In lines
54-56, Browning alludes to Greek mythology while making the
comparison of how the duke tamed his wife like Neptune and the
sea-horse; “Notice Neptune, though / Taming a sea-horse, thought a
rarity, / Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!”
The duke tried to have control over his household at all times and it
seems like he is trying to convey that to his future son-in-law. He is
also talking to a servant as the reader finds out at the end of the
poem. The reader could take that as the duke trying to tell the people
in his household that he is the ultimate power of the house as well the
people that live in it.

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My Last Duchess

My Last Duchess My Last Duchess In “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning, we are introduced to the dramatic monologue. In a dramatic monologue, the speaker unknowingly reveals his personality through his speech. In this poem, the audience listens to a conversation between the Duke and a nameless envoy who are making the final arrangements for the Duke’s second wedding. Strangely, the Duke brings out a portrait of his former wife whom he rambles incessantly about. Through the Duke’s ramblings, we learn that he is a self-centered, arrogant, and completely chauvinistic man, asserting emotions of both power and weakness. The Duke is a materialistic, proud man. He has a high rank in nobility and a well-respected name.

Thus, he tries to portray himself as powerful and sophisticated. But his underlying motives shine through and we see the Duke as jealous and possessive. The Duke was formerly married and this marriage ended tragically. His last Duchess had a wandering eye and a smile for everyone. This infuriated the Duke – “She smiled, no doubt, whene’er I passed her; but who passed without much the same smile?” (line 44).

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The Duke must have been a Leo because he always had to be in the spotlight, his pride injured when the attention was not there. He felt he should be the only one in his Duchess’s life to cause her joy or any sort of emotion, really. “All and each would draw from her alike the approving speech, or blush at least. She thanked men – good! But thanked someone I know not how – as if she ranked my gift of a nine hundred year old name with anybody’s gift,”(lines29-34). The Duke feels that he has made this woman.

Who was she before he bestowed the almighty name on her? How dare she not show her full thanks! The Duke was like many men we see today – envious and completely ridiculous. Unfortunately for the Duchess, her innocent flirtations must have boiled the Duke over the edge. He could not talk to her about his feelings, “Even had you skill in speech – which I have not,” (line 35). And even if he was able, he probably would not because this would injure his ego even more. Sure maybe she would listen, but now she knows she has the upperhand over the Duke. It is all a control issue with these two.

“And if she let herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse – E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose to never stoop,”(lines 39-42). So he decides on a different plan. “I gave commands; then all smiles stopped together,”(line 45). From this statement, we can infer that the Duke became enraged to the point he hired someone to kill his wife. It is one of those nice deals with power marriages – you do not listen to my command, you get blown away.

Then we wonder why the divorce rate in America is 50%. All this has not changed the Duke, however. In this upcoming marriage, the Duke will act in the same way. That is the whole purpose in showing the envoy the portrait. It is a forewarning to what will happen to the next wife if she does not listen to her master – she will end up living through a portrait on the wall. The Duke does not even care about the money he is making from this marriage, he only wants another young, beautiful woman to control.

“The Count your master’s known munificence is ample warrant that no just pretense of mine for dowry will be disallowed; though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed at my starting, is my object,”(49-52). Women are not people to the Duke, but rather creatures to tame, which he implies when he shows the envoy one of his other possessions. “Notice Neptune though, taming a sea horse, thought a rarity, which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me,”(54-56). The Duke was a women-thirsty, power-hungry man. He knew what he wanted and if he did not get it, he took drastic measures to insure his success in further endeavours.

In this second marriage, he will either be jilted or have complete success for the envoy will go back with the story of the portrait and the Count will either hide his daughter or give her away without any qualms. If he does get left at the altar though, it would not even bother the Duke. He would just have more time to play his game of hunter and the little prey. English Essays.

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