Analysis of Robert Browning´s My Last Duchess

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According to a poetry archive “A persona, from the Latin for mask, is a character taken on by a poet to speak in a first-person poem” (poetry archive). This means that a poetic persona is a mechanism used by poets in which the narrative of the poem is given by a character within the poem. My Last Duchess is a narrative poem where the poetic persona is narrating to another the story of his late wife. He first expunges on the painting of the duchess and then digresses to her personality and all her transgressions. He then makes some startling revelations about himself that allow the reader to become intimately aware of his personality. It is clear that the poetic persona in Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess is the Duke who is narrating the poem. Through the poem we come to know of this persona as old fashioned and cruel, we see the time period and institutions of that time and we also get a glimpse of the duchess’ personality.

My last duchess allows the reader to see the inner workings of the duke’s mind without actual comment from the poet. The Duke paints himself as a very arrogant person who is stuck in an archaic time where he demands respect and sycophancy from everyone. The Duke starts his monologue by name dropping “Fra Pandolf” as if to extoll his power and wealth so everyone can know he is rich enough to commission such paintings. An article called “brownings witless duke” echoes this idea as it says “The name of the famous artist, then, is designed to give the Duke
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