The first contradiction to consider is how charming the duke actually is. The duke then ends his story and asks the envoy to rise and accompany him back to the count, the father of the duke's impending bride and the envoy's employer. This is shown through the title of the poem. Nikolaus Madruz, an emissary of the count was used during the arrangement of this marriage, and it is believed that he is the silent listener to whom the duke in the poem is speaking. Not only was he afraid of losing her, we also get the impression that he is more concerned over his loss of control over her. The duke speaks his thoughts about the girl, and as the poem progresses we begin to realize that his last duchess had been murdered.
This uncanny ability to make absence present is built into ekphrasis, a genre that begins in the Iliad. Even art objects serve as tools of demonstrating power; the portrait of the Duchess seem to endow the Duke the uncanny feat of controlling the lifeless duchess. She exceeds his mark and captivates us yet. She thanked men, — good! During the poem, the Duke tries to portray himself as powerful and successful, but these qualities are contradicted by his speech. His irony goes even further when he reminds the envoy that he truly wants only the woman herself, even as he is clearly stressing the importance of a large dowry tinged with a threat of his vindictive side. A remarkably amoral man nevertheless has a lovely sense of beauty and of how to engage his listener. Also at play psychologically is the human ability to rationalize our hang-ups.
Just as Neptune tames the sea horse, so too does the Duke wish to tame and control his Duchess. The poem takes place in media res of the Duke consulting and arranging his second marriage. The relationship between the speaker and the listener within the narrative thus sets up an analogous relationship between the poet, Browning, and his audience outside of the narrative. So, the Duke is both discouraging and discouraging officiousness, depending on whom it is directed. 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. Even in death the Duke wished to hide her away behind the curtain where no other man could admire her beauty. Another possible clue of strangulation: distressing semicolons punctuate the murder scene, and those gaping pauses mark her gasps for breath and her erasure.
By having the painting that he is in control of, and having it of her in the exact manner that he pleases he shows the woman in dream like quality that he wants. Keep in mind that literary movements only correspond roughly with her reign. Setting Browning selects a private art gallery that belongs to the Duke in Renaissance Italy as the setting of his poem. In addition, he was the sponsor of the , a type of group which was to be copied all over Italy. Already we sense that he is speaking about an object rather than a person he has loved. Besides being fluent in Italian he was also proficient in Latin and French.
To some extent, the duke's amorality can be understood in terms of aristocracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. These lines leave us with the suspicion that the Duchess is no longer alive, but at this point were are not totally sure. In the same way that the age of his name gives it credence, so does he seem fit with a life of repeated gestures, one of which he is ready to make again with the count's daughter. My Last Duchess is a mysterious dramatic monologue about a Duke of Ferrara who is showing off a portrait of his late wife to a visitor of his home. This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. In many ways, this is the artist's dilemma, which Browning explores in all of his work.
The poem can be interpreted based on multiple approaches, the richest of which is the psychoanalytic approach. Although the duke's monologue appears on the surface to be about his late wife, a close reading will show that the mention of his last duchess is merely a side note in his self-important speech. The Duke then shows the listener the statue of Neptune taming the sea horse that was made for him. Instead of realizing and praising him for his accomplishments, the reader sees through the Duke's façade and realizes that the Duke is simply possessive and jealous. The script-like nature of the monologue removes Browning from his narration, and thus distances us from its reception; the actual story of the. And that reminds us of another movie from the early 90s —. This essay will look at ways William Shakespeare 1564-1616, English actor and playwright and Robert Browning 1812-1889, English poet and playwright consider love, murder and jealousy in the play Macbeth and the poems, My Last Duchess and The Laboratory.
She came with a sizeable , and the couple married in 1558. By no means can we justify the idea that the duke is willing to transcend class, but at the same time he does allow a transgression of the very hierarchy that had previously led him to have his wife murdered rather than discuss his problems with her. And yet he was driven to murder by her refusal to save her happy glances solely for him. The poet creates a rivalry between word and image, as if to ask which is more accurate and more powerful. In this poem, loosely inspired by real events set in Renaissance Italy, the duke reveals himself not only as a model of culture but also as a monster of morality. He now keeps her painting hidden behind a curtain that only he is allowed to draw back, meaning that now she only smiles for him. Dramatic monologue although originated well before the 19th century, it was popularized by Victorian poets like Browning, Tennyson and Dante Rossetti.
The agent seems present although he never participates in the conversation and all parts are spoken by the Duke. And yet he is impressively charming, both in his use of language and his affable address. Without elaborating, the Duke beckons the envoy to accompany him downstairs and on the way, points at the bronze statue of the God, Neptune taming an innocent sea horse thereby, providing him an obvious hint of his authoritative personality. He explores the mental processes of the characters, and invites readers… 1721 Words 7 Pages in Browning's Porphyria's Lover and My Last Duchess The death of the female beloved is the only way deemed possible by the insecure, possessive male to seize her undivided attention. His expenses, however, went at damage of the public treasure.