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Jealousy And Self Love In My Last Duchess By Robert Browning

541 words - 2 pages

Robert Browning's dramatic poem "My Last Duchess" defines how extremely a person may lose touch with reality, as a result of jealousy and self-love.  This central thought is achieved through an aristocrat's conversation with a visitor concerning a painting of his ex-wife; within the conversation, the aristocrat--Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara--reveals that he has been a key figure in the murder of his late wife.  The Duke's sense of reality and his misuse of power stand as important facets within the fabrication of the central idea.

The Duke almost seems to be encouraging the reader to focus on the fact that his sense of reality is defective.  He begins pressing this notion to the reader within the early stages of the poem, while talking to the visitor about a portrait of his murdered wife: "I call that piece a wonder now: Fra Pandolf's hands worked busily a day, and there she stands"(Browning 695-696).  Upon reading this so early in the Duke's conversation, the reader is taken back; how could an individual be more interested in the quality of work in a piece of art than his dead wife.  This characteristic of Duke places him far from the ranks of an average person's sensibilities.  By regarding art in this manner, the fact is demonstrated that he is not able to find a grasp on even the most rudimentary sense of compassion and loyalty.  As a result of this, the reader finds it to be no wonder that a person such as the Duke could be part of the murder of his spouse.

The Duke's conversation illustrates his arrogance and misuse of power.  While it seems he is actively...

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