Reverse Imperialism in My Last Duchess

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Professionals divide literature into many different categories, or genres, which seem not to relate to each other. Some crossover hybrids exist, but very few works of literature can actually be compared to others that are not in the same genre. One such comparison would be that of a poem and the detective genre in general. For example, Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess”, a dramatic monologue, would very rarely be compared to Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Purloined Letter.” The writers of Detective Fiction Crime and Compromise, however, have placed Browning’s poem in the manifestation section of their book. A manifestation of detective fiction is something, other than detective fiction, that outwardly or perceptibly indicates a…show more content…
“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

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