December 4, 2008
My Last Duchess
In the dramatic monologue My Last Duchess, written by Robert Browning, we the readers take a backseat to the unveiling of the Dukeâ€™s true personality. Irony takes center stage, as the Duke of Ferrara is explaining himself and his feelings for his last Duchess, when he gets caught up in his own nostalgia and indirectly reveals more than is needed for the particular conversation. Leaving the readers without an actual conclusion as to what happened to the expired Duchess, Browning uses tone to order to show the true nature of the Duke and his dastardly deeds. The Duke is fueled by pride and his ego gives ...view middle of the document...
The poems serious tone starts increasing greatly here, and we go deeper into the heart of the Duke â€œJust this or that in you disgusts meâ€(L. 38). By this point in the monologue we are no longer having a sophisticated conversion with an acquaintance, the Duke is now ramblings and letting too much emotion out for a comfortable conversation. But he is still building up steam for the toneâ€™s climax; â€if she let Herself be lessoned soâ€(L.40) â€œLessonedâ€ meaning he tried to make her obedient. When all of the Dukeâ€™s attempts to make her â€œvirtuousâ€ fail he tries a new plan, â€œCommandâ€. (L.45) His growing jealously over her consumed him and â€œI gave Commands; then all smiles stopped together.â€(L.45-46) though not revealing what happened to the Duchess, the Duke does let us know that it was because of him that she is no longer with us. Then as if nothing interesting came out of the Dukeâ€™s mouth he suggests that they continue on and back to party and finish up the planning for his upcoming wedding. â€œWillâ€™t please you rise? Weâ€™ll meet the company belowâ€(L.47)
Though the Duke is a selfish arrogant man, his actions were driving by passion and love. He loved his Duchess so much he wanted all of her to himself and none for everyone else. If he didnâ€™t love her why bring the best painter available to make a perfect portrait of her, â€Fra Pandolfâ€™s hands worked busily a day, and there she standsâ€(L.3-4) â€œAs if Aliveâ€(L.47) This shows that he still longs for his last Duchess, you wouldnâ€™t say that right after you got through venting about what pissed you off about her unless you felt some remorse for your actions. The Duke found her beautiful, but her beauty was only supposed to be for him. The Duke coveted the Duchess as if she was his â€œObjectâ€ (L.53) or property and if she couldnâ€™t be just his then the Duke made sure no one could have her. Love and passion for the Duchess is not an excuse or does if justify the outcome of her untimely demise, but does the Duke deserve sympathy?
While the painting of the Duchess is grand, the Duke still is left with a hole in his life--a companion. So he is currently in the middle of arrangements to be made with a â€œCountâ€™sâ€(L.49) daughter. It is my understanding that the Duke is wanting a Trophy Wife, seeing as â€œof mine for dowry will be disallowedâ€(L.51), meaning that money is not a concern for him. An obedient wife that will do whatever he pleases and never step out of line is what he...