Analysis Of Robert Brownings The Last Duchess. Provides A Roughly Line By Line Anaylsis Of The Poem. A Good Essay, Needs Little Revision.

1401 words - 6 pages

Analysis of Robert Browning's My Last DuchessEnglish 110.6 (12)23 October 2002My Last Duchess is one of the more recognized poems written by Robert Browning. Robert Browning was a Victorian writer born in 1812 and died in 1889. He is remembered today through the inspiring words of this dramatic monologue My Last Duchess.The setting of this poem is presumably in the Italian Renaissance period, specifically, the grand staircase in the palace of the Duke of Ferrara. It is set as evidenced by the arranged marriage to the Count's Daughter and the suggestion of the dowry and also by the remark the duke makes to the servant "Sir! Notice Neptune, though, / Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, / Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me." (Lines 54 - 56) Any reference of Ancient Roman culture, especially a bronze statue, was seen as a great status symbol at the time. These examples also serve to allow the reader to infer that the Duke is a very wealthy man and very conceited about his home and possessions. The location in the home is provided to the reader through references to walking down the staircase "We'll meet / The company below, then." (Lines 47 and 48) and "Nay, we'll go, / Together down, Sir!" (Lines 53 and 54)The speaker and narrator of the poem is the Duke of Ferrara. My Last Duchess is a conversation between the Duke and a servant of a Count. As the monologue opens, the audience is treated to a description of a portrait of the Duke's first wife. He takes great pains to insure that the reader "sees" the painting. "That's my last duchess painted on the wall/ Looking as if she were alive I call" (Line 1 and 2)The Duke's reason for speaking with the servant is to discuss the Duke's intention to marry the daughter of the servant's employer. This is learned late in the poem. During, the conversation, the audience sees a great hatred the Duke has for his first wife, who mysteriously died.The opening tone of the poem is somewhat light. A widower discusses the painting of his former wife, the beauty of her. On into the poem, the reader begins to detect a change in the Duke's tone. He begins to recall the possible circumstances resulting in "that spot / Of joy into the Duchess' cheek". (Line 14 and 15) The Duke begins opening his suspicious mind as to the various possibilities- "perhaps / Fra Pandolf chanced to say". (Line 15 and 16) According to the Duke, many were the curious viewer who asked.The audience is also given a view of the Duchess through the eyes of her widower. The late Duchess was a naive, young woman. She was "too easily impressed". (Line 23) Her likes were of many, animate and inanimate as evidence by the Duke's comment "She liked whate'er/ She looked on, and her looks went everywhere." (Line 24) She was a person who valued no one thing more than another, in his view- " Sir, 'twas all one! My favour at her breast, / The dropping of the daylight in the West," (Line 25 and 26) The Duke is quite angry at this fact. He feels she has...

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