In My Last Duchess, Robert Browning uses voice to create a sinister tone by the use of words he chooses for the Duke of Ferrara to use in his dramatic monologue. The Duke is an arrogant, selfish man who loves the arts. He introduces his deceased wife as “That’s my last Duchess, painted on the wall,” he says as if he owned her. The Duke was not happy when she participated in things that that he did not provide her with, she didn’t bow down to his aristocratic ways and this displeased him to a great extent. Then nonchalantly, he tells the ambassador that “I gave commands, Then all smiles stopped together.’ This is the dukes sinister way of confessing he had her murdered.
‘My Last Duchess” in itself is a Victorian reflection on Renaissance Italy. It explores societal schemas which permeated both aristocratic societies extensively, such as societal entitlement and a narcissistic and oppressive attitude. Browning takes this to a deeper level by exploring these temperaments in the speaker; the Duke of Ferrara. This is achieved through the use of structure and syntax to provide insight into the psyche of the speaker by insinuating and presenting the real ideology of the speaker through the development of a societal interaction. Browning employs thematic progression lead by the speaker delivered through a dramatic monologue, forced sentences of genuine nature, and the use of vivid imagery and syntax to create such
Robert Browning is an amazing poet. He wrote many poems in the late 1800’s that are connected with storylines, characters and plot. “My Last Duchess” and “Porphyria’s Lover” are examples of Browning’s connected poems. Both are considered to be dramatic monologues in which the character narrates his story of love. The Duke from “My Last Duchess” and the speaker from “Porphyria’s Lover” are known as “brothers in character and action”. They share many similar personality traits and the make many of the same actions. Both the Duke and speaker manipulate other characters from the poem. They are both possessive over women and objects, love the feeling of power are both over confident. Manipulation is a very important action of both the
“That’s my last Duchess, painted on the wall...Will’t please you sit and look at her? ...since none puts by the curtain I have drawn for you.” Later in the poem, the reader realizes s/he is an emissary of a potential marriage. Being a dramatic monologue, the reader gets a front row seat to Alfonso’s shift in motive and attitude. The reader initially is led to believe Alfonso adored his late wife by the way he originally describes the fresco, “I call that piece a wonder...the depth and passion of its earnest glance...how such a [flattering] glance came there.” Later in the poem, however, the reader realizes Alfonso’s true feelings toward Medici by the way he tells the emissary of her personality. Listening from the emissary’s point of view makes the poem more interactive because it’s almost like Alfonso is having a personal conversation with the reader. It also makes the poem more mysterious because the reader doesn’t know if Alfonso is a “reliable” character—the reader only knows what Alfonso has told him or her (the emissary). By putting the reader in this position, Browning suggests that the emissary would have had the same opinions on objectification (arranged marriage, obsession with status) as Alfonso did; otherwise, why would he have said, “I gave
Art is not just a form of beauty but also a form of power. In it lies deep meaning and value and often tells a story. Robert Browning’s poem “The Last Duchess” portrays this power of art, which is evident in how the Duke captures more than just the image of his former wife in the painting. To him the painting represents his control and power and tells the tale of his former wife in the way he speaks of the painting. An analysis of the poem “My Last Duchess” will reveal how the Duke uses art to further the narrative of this poem through symbolism, reveal the relationship with his former wife and control others.
Robert Browning’s poem, “My Last Duchess” is an exemplary dramatic monologue written in 1842. As the poem disentangles, the readers discover that the poem’s speaker, Duke Ferra, is having a talk with a representative of his wife’s family. Duke is talking while standing before a portrait belonging to that of his last wife who is deceased. The theme of the Duke’s talk focuses on the woman’s imperfections and failings. The poem’s irony becomes conspicuous as the readers learn that the ‘faults’ of the young was as a result of her kindness (Kuiper & Merriam-Webster, Inc. 1995). The lady is said to have qualities such as politeness, companion, delight in simple desires, humbleness, and courteous to servants. In this poem, “My Last Duchess” poet Browning explores the theme of power, jealousy, and madness.
Browning uses his poetry to discuss the roles of women in both Victorian England and Renaissance Italy. Women in both time periods were expected to uphold moralistic values, listen to their husbands and stay at home to watch their children. In both of Browning’s poems we can see characters who stray from the idealistic views of the time. In Porphyria’s Lover, Porphyria enters a man’s house and initiates sexual activities. Before anything happens, the man decides to kill porphyria to ‘posses’ her forever. The entire poem is centred around the breaking of a women’s stereotype. Not only does Porphyria initiate the sexual contact “Let her yellow hair fall”, she also leaves her own home to come to his, “glides in straight”. Browning uses vivid imagery to show the corruption within Victorian England as he is showing how women deserve more than they were given at the time. He also uses the symbolism of Porphyria’s Yellow hair to show that she is to impure to have ‘golden’ hair as she is having an affair. Browning continues to explore the theme of women in My Last Duchess. This poem was set in the 16th century Italy and was based on Duke Ferarra and his marriage to one of his wives. The poem is about the Duke talking to an ambassador about his previous Duchess and her qualities. The poem talks about how the duke was unhappy with the way his previous Duchess acted “here you miss or exceed the mark” and that she didn’t value him for what he was worth “she ranked my gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name with anybody’s gift”. Browning also uses juxtaposition to illustrate how women were constrained to act and behave in certain ways and the punishments if they disobeyed these expectations. Both where and when Browning lived
Browning presents the duke as an arrogant, jealous character with an ostentatious disposition .In the dramatic monologue of the Duke it would seem he over analyses his duchesses interactions in the poem, particularly that of the male gender. This institutes that the Duke is a jealous man and also that he regards the duchess as more of a possession than a person. This is also portrayed through the possessive pronouns used throughout the poem such us “my” and “mine.” Another fact that expresses his officious nature would be that as his wife didn’t act like ‘his’ possession he had her killed and turned into something he could control. This is shown in the fact he had her portrait put behind a curtain which only he was allowed to open this is symbolism for being able to hide and control her unlike when she was alive. The curtain also draws attention the painting behind it which shows his theatrical side as he just shows it off to strangers “strangers like you that pictured countenance.” His theatrical side is also shown when he drops
My Last Duchess Response The poem “My last Duchess” by Robert Browning is written in the first person point of view. The narrator, the Duke of Ferrara is collaborating with the representative of the father of his succeeding bride. The Duke speaks about his last duchess with the dialogue between the envoy and himself. The depiction the duke portrays on his last duchess, as well as his forthcoming duchess reveals the true character of the Duke to the reader.
“My Last Duchess,” is ironic and psychological because monologue is found by which the readers can be blinded to. The Duke, who could be described as a murderer, can also ironically be charming. He wants to make himself seem as powerful as he thinks he should be. He uses all of his possessions that he feels are important to make himself feel like a higher power to the rest of society. He feels as if bragging about his things would help people like him but fails to see that he has no control over people or how they identify him. His need to have control becomes one of his most defining characteristics, which in turn makes him powerless. He lets his desire control his life. Throughout the poem, a lesson is learned when Browning proves that things
Browning’s poetry has been analysed for centuries and still presents relevant ideas, influencing those interested in changing ideals. A flawed individual who gains power through a high position will begin to expect things they don’t deserve, thus endangering others through the process and of being consumed by pride and jealousy. Browning imagines “My Last Duchess” through the perspective of the Duke of Ferrara who lived during Renaissance Italy of the 16th century, when a man was expected to be able to control his wife and she was only appreciated for her beauty and compliance. Similarly, Browning’s “The Laboratory” exposes the strict class structures of aristocratic France where the women were expected to be pure and impermeable to such base
“My Last Duchess” is a manifestation of detective fiction in that it engages the readers on a higher level; this causes the readers to become involved in the poem in order to understand it and grasp the use of reverse imperialism in Browning’s poem. Although the poem never states that the Duke murdered the Duchess, the dialogue of the poem insinuates it. While talking with the currier Duke Ferrara declares, “I gave commands;/Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands/As if alive.” (45-47) This statement by the Duke makes the reader assume the worst of the Duke, believing that he ordered for his last duchess to be done away with. The society would note the calculated order given by the Duke to be similar to the order a ruler of another country would give to begin the invasion of a weaker country. Another manifestation of an imperialistic country, which Duke Ferrara displays, is his desire to control everything in his house. Browning shows this control in Duke Ferrara’s statement, “(since non puts by/The curtain I have drawn for you but I)” (9-10) when the Duke is first revealing the Duchess’s picture to the currier. Society would notice the control over who sees the painting of the last Duchess as a manifestation of the attitude an imperialistic country would have coming into England and wishing to control every aspect of society’s life. Not only is the poem itself a
1. In line 15, Frost describes the saw as being sinister. He infers that the saw has a mind of its own, by stating that the saw jumped out of the boy’s hand and cut the boy’s hand terribly. Frost also makes it seem as if the saw is in a way, like a friend. He does this by demonstrating that using the saw is an advantage for the boy because it is making his job ten times easier. Without the saw, the boy would spend hours cutting through the wood.
In the opening lines of “My Last Duchess”, Browning introduces his speaker, the Duke of Ferrara, who sets the stage to tell the story of his late wife to the Count’s emissary. As a dramatic monologue, Browning’s identity is dissolved into his character’s voice and persona; the first-person narration of the Duke dominates the perspective of the story; the emissary becomes a silent listener, whose presence is only known because he is addressed as “you” and “Sir” by the speaker throughout the poem. The relationship between the speaker and the listener within the narrative thus sets up an analogous relationship between the poet, Browning, and his audience
“The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams is short, but fulfilled with imagery and meaning. The wheelbarrow is shining red as it is glazed with rainwater and the chickens are immaculately white once the sun comes out. Williams emphasizes the chicken color because now that the storm has passed, they can presume normal living again without a worry. White is known to be associated with goodness, heaven, safety, and innocence, whereas red can be associated with danger, rage, anger, and vigor. These colors represent a recurring process; danger and worries do not last forever and restoration and happiness will return with time. Throughout life, people experience ups and downs, which is what the deeper meaning of this poem is representing. Life is a full circle and will not always be perfect.