• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analysis of My Last Duchess by Robert Browning.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Analysis of My Last Duchess by Robert Browning Murder...mystery...intrigue. All describe Robert Browning's poem, 'My Last Duchess'. From the speaker's indirect allusions to the death of his wife the reader might easily think that the speaker committed a vengeful crime out of jealousy. His flowery speech confuses and disguises any possible motives, however, and the mystery is left unsolved. The poem is a great example of dramatic dialogue, a poetic form used to narrate and dramatize. It consists entirely of the words of a single speaker who reveals in his speech his own nature and the dramatic situation in which he finds himself. This format suits this poem particularly well because the speaker, taken to be the Duke of Ferrara, comes across as being very controlling, especially in conversation. For example, he seems jealous that he was not able to monopolize his former duchess' smile for himself. He also seems to direct the actions of the person he is addressing with comments such as "Will't please you rise?" The title of the poem evidently refers to a wall painting that Ferrara reveals to someone yet unidentified in the first fourteen words of the poem. ...read more.

Middle

The Duke, of course, is casting himself in a favorable light and is presenting his best side. He wants to make it look as if his wife was cheating on him and was unfaithful to him. He is very controlling, and could not control her and her smiles. This smile was what the Duke likes the most about the painting of the Duchess--he feels that the painter accurately captured the smile and the vivacity of the Duchess. Now that the Duke owns this painting and has placed it behind a curtain, he can at last control who is graced with her smile. I feel that Ferrara betrays his obsessions by nervous mannerisms. He repeats words associated with the Duchess: the phrases `as if ... alive", `there she stands', `Will't please you', and `called/calling ... that spot of joy', `look,' variously inflected, `glance' `thanked' `gift', `stoop', `smile', and `pass'. These words define his speech but also his mind, circling back to the same topic again and again. He takes pride in saying, "I repeat". He also obsesses about his height, relative to others. He stands because the Duchess stands on the wall, and he requires his listener to sit, to rise, and to walk downstairs with him side-by-side. ...read more.

Conclusion

Always knowing his place, the envoy must study his host's revelations (or insinuations) tacitly. The painting is the focus of the poem. I feel that in all likelihood, the Duke will not succeed in marrying the Count of Tyrol's daughter because the envoy/messenger will warn his master about the dangerous possessiveness of the prospective son-in-law. I think that another positive aspect of the poem was the fact that Browning allows the reader to asses the Duke for themselves. I as the reader could see that such powerful Renaissance rulers were ruthless and greedy. I also saw how jealousy and possessiveness can destroy things that we love the most. I think that framing his former wife is a way for the Duke to prevent the count's daughter from misinterpreting him. His absolute rule will allow him to prescribe her behavior, but he depends on the count's representative to convey his indelicate hints about propriety better than he could verbally respond to the last duchess's miscues. I feel that in the poem there is pain, jealousy, rejection and happiness. The majority of the spectrum of emotions associated with love and marriage is contained by this piece. Jonathan Anderson ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Robert Browning section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Robert Browning essays

  1. Comparison of ‘My Last Duchess’ with ‘Porphyria’s Lover’, by Robert Browning.

    He would certainly have been a patron of the arts, as was the custom for the upper classes of society at the time. He points out a work of art to the Count's emissary at the finish of the poem: 'Notice Neptune, tho', Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity.'

  2. How does Browning present the idea of love in 'The Laboratory' and 'My Last ...

    I also think that 'me' is used as an echo from the first line, 'my', this choice of language accentuates the idea that this man cares mainly about the materialistic things in life, and himself. In 'My Last Duchess', the Duke says in a straight forward manner what he wants to say.

  1. The Life of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Browning Society was founded in 1881 as an indication of the poets status as a sage and celebrity.

  2. Commentary on 'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning

    Her interaction with other men is something he obviously could not control but through taking charge of the situation and killing her himself (or just being behind her death in some way) his control is asserted once again. This attitude towards her interacting with other men is reflected brilliantly through

  1. Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning - an Analysis and exploration of the poem and ...

    Women, particularly for the Victorians, symbolised the home and the repository of traditional values. Their violent death can stand in for the death of society and rapidly changing values. The women in Porphyria's Lover and in a significant proportion of Browning's poetry in particular are often depicted as sexually open:

  2. “Occasionally an anti-climax can be suprisingly effective”[Andrew Crocker-Harris] How successful is the ending of ...

    and unlovable man without feeling, fully deserving of the title 'the Himmler of the lower fifth' as bestowed on him by Frobisher. He changes throughout the second half of the play and we as the audience see him to be pleasant, friendly and bullied by his evil wife.

  1. Robert Browning, The reniassance and The Duke of Ferrara

    The reviews of Paracelsus (1835) had been mostly encouraging, but the difficulty and obscurity of his long poem Sordello (1840) turned the critics against him, and for many years they continued to complain of obscurity even in his shorter, more accessible lyrics.

  2. Comparing the way two different authors portray love and saying which one was the ...

    Both men wanted their lovers all to them selves. The fact that the women got friendly with other men seemed to upset and worry the women's lovers. Robert Browning seems to be portraying unfaithful love where the women are not trusted by their men, however, the men expect to gain all the love and trust.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work