My Last Duchess By Robert Browning Analysis

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The Mask of Poetry: Robert Browning
Robert Browning had lifelong aspirations for poetry, but struggled with establishing his own voice in his works. He regarded himself as writing under a mask, through which he could take on the unique voices of his characters while shrouding his own voice. Robert Browning was raised as the only son of affluent parents, who denied him none of life’s pleasures. Superficially, two of his protagonists, the Duke and the Bishop, resemble this aspect of Browning, taking pride in the wealth they have amassed over their respective lifetimes and relishing any opportunity to boast their wealth to others. Later in life, Browning married poet Elizabeth Barrett, who was physically an invalid, but far more renowned as a poet than he was. Browning was so devoted to his wife, and their son, Pen, that he only wrote a single poem within the first three years of his marriage. Although there is little reason to doubt that his loving relationship with his wife was genuine, Robert Browning may have drawn upon his own feelings of inadequacy in regards to his writing, taking on the ‘masks’ of different character’s voices in order to express the darker parts of his nature.
In the poem, My Last Duchess, the speaker, a fictionalized version of the Duke of Ferrara, audaciously displays a portrait of his late bride, the eponymous Duchess to a representative of his potential father in law. He goes on to explain that he ordered the death of his beautiful wife for failing
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