This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess Essay

2934 words - 12 pages

Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess,” written in 1842, is an intriguing poem that reveals an unexpected interpretation when closely analyzed. The poem is based upon actual incidents that occurred in the life of Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara. The first wife of Ferrara, Lucrezia, mysteriously died in 1561 with many speculations afterwards that it was supposedly Ferrara who murdered her. The poem takes place in media res of the Duke consulting and arranging his second marriage. A portrait of the former Duchess is pointed out, and the Duke begins to recall her personality and behavior. The genre is a dramatic monologue. Browning uses various techniques and ways to make the reader scrutinize what the speaker is saying in order to discover the true intention and meaning of the poet. The Duke is a manipulative character, in which his dramatic monologue attempts to convince himself that he is not at fault for the murder of his wife.
Predominately the poem is written in rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter. The rhyming couplets form a strict structure with: “the regular use of enjambed lines throughout the poem may suggest an inability to control over either his wife or his own tongue, yet his disruptive caesurae create a rhetorical violence that allows him to reassert his sovereignty and command” (Gardener 170). The Duke attempts to manipulate the envoy into seeing the Duke as the victim. The Duke fails as he comes off trying too hard to be normal, and seems guilty. Nevertheless, he does try to control “his own tongue” to make his side of the story more plausible. The “disruptive caesurae” highlights how the Duke must control what he is saying and manipulate his words. He has the tendency to use the word “I” throughout the poem. Showing how he is very egocentric. The Duke’s choice of words shifts the tone of the poem from a positive to negative. Choices such as earnest, depth, passion, joy, ample, officious, fool, stopped, and trifling are just a few of the vocabulary choices that helped emphasize this shift. This transition to a more serious baffling tone starts once he begins talking about the faults in the Duchess. He wants to portray the Duchess in a negative light, in order for his to seem like a savior.
The Duke wants complete control and possession of the Duchess. He is not keen on sharing the Duchess’s attention with anyone else. Consequently, this makes the Duke very bitter and greedy. He uses the word “my” consistently such as “my last Duchess,” “my favor at her breast,” and “my gift, etc.” Placing emphasis to the envoy that all those mentioned above or his possessions and no one else’s. Even in the title there is an allusion of his wife, which reveals his selfish personality and desires. When he is showing the envoy the painting he commands he envoy such as “will’t please you sit,” “will’t you please rise,” and “we’ll go / Together down etc.” The Duke does not ask the envoy if he wants to hear this story, he rather commands...

Find Another Essay On Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess

My Last Duchess by Robert Browning Analysis

3172 words - 13 pages My Last Duchess by Robert Browning is a poem that takes place during the Renaissance, in which the reader can conclude that the speaker punishes his last wife for asserting her natural sexuality, due to the fact of the Duke’s evident jealousy and his controlling possessive nature. Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess is one of the most famous dramatic monologues; his use of the soliloquy is essential because it reveals the speaker’s characteristic

"My Last Duchess" By Robert Browning

786 words - 3 pages Robert Browning is known as the Master of Psychological dramatic monologue. In "My last Duchess" the reader only hears the Duke's story whose perverse point of view throws false accusations towards his recently deceased wife. What the reader knows about the characters is limited, so he must piece together the story on his own. The story the duke thinks he tells, of an unfaithful wife who offended his dignity, and the story he really tells, of

Robert Browning's poem, "My Last Duchess"

1527 words - 6 pages Analysis of Robert Browning's My Last DuchessRobert Browning's poem, My Last Duchess is a poem that represents and holds true to many of the Pre-Raphaelite ideals. It is comprised of rhyming pentameter lines. The lines do not make use of end-stops but rather they use enjambment (which is that sentences do not necessarily conclude at the end of the lines). This results in the rhymes not creating a sense of closure when the end of the lines come

Robert Browning's poem "MY LAST DUCHESS"

781 words - 3 pages Picture FrameBill Cosby once said, "It's not a lack of love, but a lack of trust that makes an unhappy marriage." Would a man kill his wife if he didn't trust her? Narrating his own tale of possessiveness, jealousy, and murder, the husband in Robert Browning's poem "My Last Duchess" unintentionally justifies his dead wife's actions.The husband in Browning's poem considered his most prized possession to be his wife. Like household objects the

Robert Browning's My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover

1326 words - 5 pages she was at a party with other men and even though she didn’t give into temptation this time, she always could. However, she says that she worships him. He eventually came up with a solution; he took her hair, wrapped it three times around her neck, kills her and then lays her head on his shoulder. There is obviously something off about these two speakers from these poems. The two speakers from Robert Browning’s poems My last Duchess and Porphyria’s

Robert Browning's My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover

1294 words - 6 pages bring will last; as the vows say, till death do us part.” One of the oddest forms of this writing is from Robert Browning’s texts My Last Duchess and Porphyria’s Lover. In My Last Duchess a man is talking to the painting of his wife, and describing how their love went cold. Porphyria’s Lover is about a couple who works in an odd way, but ends even worse. Through careful analysis of Robert Browning’s two dramatic monologues, the similarities of

An Analysis of My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

695 words - 3 pages An Analysis of My Last Duchess by Robert Browning “My Last Duchess” is written as a dramatic monologue, which is a poem that is read as if on stage, talking to an audience or character in a play. This method of writing has been used because the poem wants to give one perspective, the Duke’s, in an effective manner. By using this technique, Browning is also silencing the antagonist, the Duchess, and becoming the protagonist. The rhyming

"My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning

597 words - 2 pages Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" are two poems that are dramatic monologues that depict a disturbing story. Even though the speaker's attitude between the husband and wife were different in each poem, both the duke and the lover are unable to deal with their feelings realistically or properly. The duke and the lover disregard the women's feelings and physical well being in favor of their own selfish love. The two

Comparing My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning

1113 words - 4 pages Comparing My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning These poems by Robert Browning were written in the Victorian era. The Victorians from the outlook seemed to live on high standards and rules, but underneath they craved for scandal and gossip. Robert Browning gave this to them through his poems. They were filled with adultery, passion, sexual tension and murder

My Last Duchess and Porphyrias Lover by Robert Browning

1316 words - 5 pages Robert Browning wrote the two poems, "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover." Both poems convey an thoughtful, examination profound commentary about the concept of love. communicates two interpretations concerning Both poems describe the behavior of people who are in loving, romantic relationships. There are several aspects common in both poems. Using the literary technique of dramatic dialogue, the author reveals the plot and central

Analysis of My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

1169 words - 5 pages My Last Duchess by Robert Browning is a dramatic monologue about a duke who is showing the portrait of his first wife, the duchess, to a servant of his future father-in-law, the Count. In a dramatic monologue, the speaker addresses a distinct but silent audience. Through his speech, the speaker unintentionally reveals his own personality. As such, in reading this poem, the reader finds the duke to be self-centered, arrogant, controlling

Similar Essays

A Literary Comparison Of Robert Browning’s Texts My Last Duchess And Porphyria’s Lover

1129 words - 5 pages Endings.” Not only does Browning have endings in his stories that aren’t the norm in children movies, but he also has some twisted and interesting things happen in the story of lovers. In Robert Browning’s works, Porphyria’s Lover, and My Last Duchess, the speakers can be both compared and contrasted. Initially, both speakers in the literary texts are similar because they killed their lovers. In Duchess, the duke that is the speaker says

Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" Essay

1084 words - 4 pages In this essay, I would like to discuss one of Robert Browning's better known poems, "My Last Duchess." While some readers may be put off by Browning's language which now seems archaic, his poem is every bit as relevant today as when he wrote it almost two hundred years ago. It is as relevant in the twenty first century as it was in the sixteenth century which serves as the setting for the poet's history lesson. The poem focuses on a sixteenth

My Last Duchess By Robert Browning

2207 words - 9 pages Just as the object of Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess” is a portrait, the poem is painting another portrait; a portrait of the speaker. The portrait the poem paints of the speaker –at first glance- is that of a madman: an irrational brute who slew his wife in a fit of jealous rage. However, by looking closely at the speaker’s words, examining the form of the poem, as well as examining the historical context of the poem, we can begin to see

My Last Duchess By Robert Browning

1117 words - 4 pages . In Robert Browning’s poem, “My Last Duchess”, power is used to demonstrate the arrogant, jealous, and controlling nature of the speaker, the Duke. The first two lines of the poem introduce the reader to the topic of the Duke’s speech, a painting of his late wife. The lines, “that’s my last Duchess painted on the wall/Looking as if she were still alive” (Browning 1-2), appear to be about his late wife on the surface but mention of the Duchess is