In order to critique the oppressive, male-dominated society of his age, Browning gave voice to villainous characters, each representing the antithesis of his worldview. Setting Browning selects a private art gallery that belongs to the Duke in Renaissance Italy as the setting of his poem. The dramatic monologue format allowed Browning to maintain a great distance between himself and his creations: by channeling the voice of a character, Browning could explore evil without actually being evil himself. Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile? She had A heart—how shall I say? He has written many such poems but My Last Duchess is deservedly the best of his dramatic monologues for it depicts contrasting lives of a merry woman and a stern man. The Duke was not happy with this.
Jealousy The Duke demands undivided attention from his duchess and her failure to do so turn him green with absurd jealousy. For example, he seems jealous that he was not able to monopolize his former duchess' smiles for himself. Yet, he is also a connoisseur of art, and it is this amalgamation of dual characteristics that makes his personality appealing. It is different from a soliloquy since a dramatic monologue always has an implied audience. His dramatic monologues about artists attempt to capture some of this philosophizing because his characters speculate on the purposes of art.
Bibliography Aker, Don, and David Hodgkinson. Neptune, the god, is a reflection of the Duke. There are also some dramatic actions in the poem, in the beginning, the duke tells the other man to sit down and look at the picture. And yet he is impressively charming, both in his use of language and his affable address. My Last Duchess Summary — Lines 16-35 Alfonso tries to explain the smile on the face of his wife with the use of imaginary claims. Apparently the Duchess was easily pleased: she smiled at everything, and seemed just as happy when someone brought her a branch of cherries as she did when the Duke decided to marry her. The Duke, though a wealthy and proud character, is not seen in a good light.
Hence the whole social background of Browning's contemporary world lurks through the poem and it does not remain just a study of the Italian Renaissance which is traditionally associated with the poem. This is a curious thing to say. For example, he seems jealous that he was not able to monopolize his former duchess' smiles for himself. The need to judge the Duke is taken into full consideration when we see how controlling yet put together the Duke seems to be. Instead, when she transgresses his sense of entitlement, he gives commands and she is dead.
The monologue is designed in such a way that it reveals the true character of the duke who is having a small-talk with a visitor; the readers need to explore the story behind his boasting. They were married in 1846, against the wishes of Barrett's father. It seems that the Duke commanded her in such a way as to make her stop smiling altogether. The generosity and spontaneity of the humanitarian Duchess were quite unacceptable to the Duke, who here becomes the Victorian conventionalist. The Duchess: It is through the expressions of the Duke that we get a glimpse of how the Duchess was in real life. His contemporaries, such as Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Gerard Manley Hopkins, in contrast, mined the natural world for lovely images of beauty.
Two significant qualities of dramatic monologues are: i An individual who is separated from the poet narrates the speech that forms the poem. He was annoyed that she liked everything that she looked at. This suggests that the real Duchess is no longer alive. Browning writes the poem in this way in order to make us relate to the Duke. The statue is of Neptune taming a sea-horse. He is showing his visitor around his palace and stops in front of a painting of his late wife.
. It is the reason for her cheeks to express joy in the presence of Fra Pandolf. Then he would speculate on the character or artistic philosophy that would lead to such a success or failure. 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. The historical background is not essential, but adds to our understanding of the poem.
So, the Duke craftily walks him through to create an impression about him. He says that it was a painting by the famous Italian painter brother Pandolf. Objectively, it's easy to identify him as a monster, since he had his wife murdered for what comes across as fairly innocuous crimes. The excellence of the poem lies in the dramatic irony of the Duke's witlessness. The Duke tries to distract us with courtesy but even as he controls the story of his wife and her image, his emotion exceeds his control and exposes his crimes.
She is the author of the poetry collections The Master Thief 2000 , In Captivity 2006 , and Articulated Lair: Poems for Louise Bourgeois 2013. There she stands As if alive. He does so successfully on several occasions. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Browning populated his poems with evil people, who commit crimes and sins ranging from hatred to murder. Summary This poem is loosely based on historical events involving Alfonso, the Duke of Ferrara, who lived in the 16th century. We come to discover that the Duke had a hand in the death of his wife for very egocentric reasons.
All of these traits are exhibited by the Duchess if we assume that allowing herself to be married to a creep in order to please her family is an act of self-sacrifice. The couple moved to Pisa and then Florence, where they continued to write. Based on the poem's historical references, style and structure, the Duke's controlling and jealous nature becomes evident. This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. He reveals all the truths about his devilish character when he is trying to prove himself a great man.