My Last Duchess Essay

“My Last Duchess” is a poem by Robert Browning first published in 1842. My Last Duchess is narrated by the Duke of Ferrara who has murdered his last wife for her infidelity, and is now showing around the new potential bride – with whom he falls desperately in love at first sight. My Last Duchess follows one of Robert Browning’s most widely known dramatic monologues.

My Last Duchess tells the story of a man who has just killed his wife and is showing around her replacement to see if she will suit his needs. My Last Duchess describes the Duke of Ferrara, an arrogant and brash Italian Renaissance man, and narrator of My Last Duchess. My last Duchess follows along in first person narration as he tells of how he murdered his last Duchess because she was unfaithful with another man when he would leave town for long periods at a time (Browning 3). My Last Duchess goes on to describe how much her betrayal hurt him and how it made him bitter towards love – making many theories about why he married his new potential bride in such haste (Browning 10).

My Last Duchess describes how the Duke’s pride is hurt because his last wife was unfaithful to him, which leads him to believe that all women are the same. My Last Duchess follows along with first person narration as he tries to justify murdering his last wife by describing her infidelity and betrayal of him, then talking about how his new potential bride would never betray or deceive him (Browning 4). My Last Duchess takes place during an Italian Renaissance time period. My Last Duchess’ status as a dramatic monologue makes it easier for readers to understand the main character’s motives and desires.

This poem is structured as a dramatic monologue – a speech presented in such a way that one character delivers it alone on stage or to another character in a play or in fiction. My Last Duchess is the Duke of Ferrara talking about how much his last wife betrayed and hurt him when she was unfaithful, and how he killed her.

The poem’s speaker begins by describing his engagement and marriage to ‘the only child’ of a nobleman; he goes on to describe “how proud I was,” and how much in love with her. The situation that led to their marriage like: she had been married in early youth to another man who soon left her, dying shortly after. My Last Duchess features eighteen lines of terza rima, three-line stanzas alternating between iambic trimeter and iambic tetrameter.

At a young age, he began learning French and Italian, while reading the English poets. He soon became a great admirer of Elizabeth Barrett Browning who also wrote poems under the pseudonym of “Aurora Leigh”. Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess is written in dramatic monologue form that was popular at that time. In My Last Duchess, Browning satirizes the life styles of rich nobility.

In My Last Duchess , Robert Browning uses an extended metaphor for his poem . The extended metaphor being used is very effective because it makes comparisons between two things that initially seem to be very different and completely unrelated. An example would be describing something as having a “face like a week old corpse” or comparing two people as having the same color hair. My Last Duchess is written in dramatic monologue form that was popular at that time. In My Last Duchess, Browning satirizes the life styles of rich nobility.

Although praised for his intellect, leadership abilities, and charm, Alfonso II has a reputation among the common people of being lazy and nothing more than an extravagant playboy. He is well known for hosting many extravagant parties in his large palace. The Duke believes himself to be ideal in every way, but he is unable to see past his own wants and desires. With the death of his wife Lucrezia, Duke Alfonso marries Margherita Gonzaga whom he barely knows personally.

They are married shortly after the death of Lucrezia who died giving birth to their love child Edoardo. The poem starts with a third person point-of-view because it talks about what others think about him rather than what the Duke thinks about himself. He is getting married to a new bride and, as tradition goes, he sends for his first wife’s favorite painting from the ancestral home in Florence. The painter Orazio Gentileschi creates a portrait of My Last Duchess who was “the only young person / My old heart could ever think itself”.

He gives this portrait to his guests, portraying what she wears and how she carries herself through the language discussed within the poem. This show-stopping technique helps Browning emphasize Alfonso’s remorselessness when it comes to human life – not only My Last Duchess – but also all those whom he despises. During the ceremony, Browning describes that “there had been no touch of real tenderness about the gift” because not only did he kill My Last Duchess but also killed his daughter who was born out of wedlock before My Last Duchess died.

Browning includes these anecdotes to reveal more about Alfonso II’s personality and how he viewed My Last Duchess. The Duke had, in fact, murdered My Last Duchess when she fell in love with one of his courtiers while he wanted to marry another woman for her bloodline instead of her personality. My Last Duchess is presented as a young innocent girl who has no idea what lies ahead of her throughout marriage.

The joke on the reader is that My Last Duchess is wearing six pearl bracelets while people are talking about how she used to be “so simple and refined. Browning does this to mock the Duke and his ludicrousness. My Last Duchess is an object to him; he loves her for all of the wrong reasons, not caring about anything except how she looks on his arm. My Last Duchess died by Alfonso’s hand because he did not want to let go of what was placed in front of him. My Last Duchess has a very different view of who she sees herself as compared to everyone else’s perception of her.

While Alfonso is a self-serving man, My Last Duchess knows that it would be in her best interests if she were to please the Duke with whatever he wanted from her, but My Last Duchess continues to be herself throughout their marriage even though the Duke wants My Last Duchess to change herself completely. My Last Duchess would smile at the Duke when he was around her while My Last Duchess would be unhappy with his presence. Browning uses My Last Duchess’s refusal to change for anyone, not even someone as wealthy and powerful as Alfonso II, to exemplify that My Last Duchess is unyielding in her beliefs.

She will always remain true to herself no matter what obstacles are thrown in front of her, something that Browning believes is important for all people. Even though My Last Duchess has an uncertain fate because she sees herself differently than how everyone else does, My Last Duchess remains confident throughout the poem so long she knows who she truly is inside and stays true to this person. My Last Duchess wants to find her own happiness that is separate from the Duke’s version of My Last Duchess.

My Last Duchess prefers to have a different future rather than being locked within the confines of the castle, which eventually leads up to My Last Duchess plotting with a courtier to leave everything behind and start a life outside of the Duke’s grasp. The poem ends with Alfonso II giving orders to his servants about My Last Duchess’s death shortly after she has escaped from him: “I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. ” The last line is chilling because it foreshadows what is going to happen next even though My Last Duchess no longer lives under his power.

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