I call That piece a wonder, now: She had A heart—how shall I say? My favour at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule She rode with round the terrace—all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Or blush, at least.
The poem first appeared in in Dramatic Lyrics, which is contained in Bells and Pomegranates In fact, the irony is profound, for with each word spoken in an attempt to criticize his last duchess, the duke ironically reveals his utterly detestable nature and how far he is from seeing it himself. The only speaker is the Duke of Ferrara.
The listener, who, offstage, asks about the smile of the last duchess in the portrait, is silent during the entire poem. The time is probably the Italian Renaissance, though Browning does not so specify.
Since the thrust of a Browning dramatic monologue is psychological self-characterization, what kind of man does the duke reveal himself to be? Surely, he is a very jealous man. Why would he hire a monk, obviously noted for his sacred art, to paint a secular portrait?
The suggestion is strong that he observed the whole enterprise. He gave Fra Pandolf only a day to finish the expensive commissioned art. Probably, he chose Pandolf because, as a man of the cloth, the good brother would have taken a vow of chastity.
Yet the evidence that he uses to corroborate this charge—her love of sunsets, the cherry bough with which she was presented, her pet white mule—suggests only that she was a natural woman who preferred the simple pleasures. Yet he never once mentions love or his willingness to emerge from his own ego.
Tellingly, within fifty-six lines he uses seventeen first-person pronouns. Browning reveals this trait by bracketing the poem with artistic images of control. As noted above, the painting of Fra Pandolf portrait reveals how the duke orchestrates the situation.
Everything that the listener hears about her is filtered through the mind and voice of the duke. The emissary cannot even look at her portrait without the duke opening a curtain that he has had placed in front of the painting.
The final artistic image is most revealing.
Once again, the commissioned art is a sort of Rorschach test—it reveals a great deal about the personality of the commissioner. The thrust of the art object is dominance—the duke desires to be Neptune, god of the sea, taming a small, beautiful sea creature in what would obviously be no contest.
As earlier indicated, the duke has always associated his last duchess with beautiful things of nature. Like Neptune, the duke rules his kingdom, Ferrara, with an iron fist. Critics take opposing views: Why would a man who has had so much trouble with his first duchess want a second wife?
Interestingly, for a man preoccupied with his nine-hundred-year-old name, nowhere does he mention progeny, and without children there will be no one to carry on the family name.
Importantly, he uses a series of terminative images, all emphasizing the end of the cycle of life, to describe his last duchess—the sunset ends the day, the breaking of the bough ends the life of the cherry also a sexual referencethe white mule is the end of its line mules then could not reproduce within the breedand whiteness as a color associated with sterility.
Could it be that the duke, since he uses these images, employs his last duchess as a scapegoat and that he is the one who is sterile? Perhaps the duke, like another Renaissance figure, Henry VIII, will run through a series of brides because he is unable to see the flaws in his own personality.
Stylistically, Browning has written a tour de force. The fifty-six lines are all in iambic pentameter couplets. The couplet form is quite formal in English poetry, and this pattern suggests the formal nature of the duke and control.
Historically, readers have wondered about two things. Is the duke based on a real person?Analysis of My Last Duchess Essay The Duke and the Duchess Victoria Overton Introduction to Literature Dr.
Elliott-White June 4, The Duke and the The poem begins with the Duke speaking in a nostalgic tone about the painting of his duchess. First performed around , Hamlet tells the story of a prince whose duty to revenge his father’s death entangles him in philosophical problems he can’t solve.
Shakespeare’s best-known play is widely regarded as the most influential literary work ever written. Read a character analysis of Hamlet, plot summary, and important quotes. May 16, · With just days to go before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding, the internet has a lot of questions.
While Harry has captured the world’s attention for . May 13, · Prince Harry and his fiancé, Meghan Markle, arrive at the ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence Photo: Matt Dunham/ AP Photo. Analysis of My Last Duchess - ‘My Last Duchess’ is a poem written by Robert Browning in It’s a first person narrative of a duke who is showing the ambassador around his palace and negotiating his marriage to the daughter of another powerful family.
The Duke in My Last Duchess is visibly a tyrant, a neurotic who does not feel any repentance for the demise of his first wife. Yet, he is also a connoisseur of art, and it is this amalgamation of dual characteristics that makes his personality appealing.