My Last Dutchess by Robert Browning Essay

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My Last Dutchess by Robert Browning Robert Browning, one of the most influential and imaginative poets in our history, engulfs readers in a wave of dramatic language, and colorful character representation in the extremely popular poem: “My Last Duchess”, which stands as one of Browning’s most famous literary pieces. In many ways the tone Browning wishes to convey provides a dark background in which many impressions and interpretations of the Duke and his former Duchess can be assessed. “And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, how such a glance came there; so, not the first are you to turn and ask thus” (Kennedy 16). As well, Browning has ingeniously chosen vivid and extraordinary instances through out the poem to hint at…show more content…
As this masterful dialogue continues, the reader comes to the reality that in fact the Duke is responsible for the Duchess’s early demise: “I gave commands; then all smiles stopped together. There she stands as if alive” (Kennedy 16). Having the Duke hint at the Duchesses demise with his last remarks, he intently returns to the business at hand: the arrangement of his marriage to a new young girl. In a way the Duke is nonchalantly brushing off the fate of the Duchess, as if she were just an intricate piece of artwork in his gallery. Have you note, as the Duke walks past the portrait, he is eager to point out many other valuable pieces of artwork, as if to say that solely he owns each piece of artwork, including the portrait of his last Duchess. “Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though. Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me” (Kennedy 17)! By creating a dark and mysterious character, such as the Duke, Browning envelopes his audience in a picturesque landscape, masking the horrific qualities the Duke possesses. With some further research, this specific historical background was set during the Italian Renaissance, inspiring and fascinating Browning in his creation. The Italian Renaissance represented “the flowering of the aesthetic and the human” (Watson 133). Offering this setting to imply the complications and intrigue with human sexuality and male domination during the Renaissance time period.

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