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Poetry Analysis

By | November 2012
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Poetry Investigation of “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning
In the poem “My Last Duchess”, Browning has made us of significant symbolism to show the Duke’s feelings towards his late wife, hinting at his Duke’s nature and also giving the readers some “in-between” the lines clue about the Duchess’s death (which isn’t explained in the poem”. Firstly, the portrait of the Duchess serves on of the most pivotal symbols in the poem. The fact the portrait is painted directly on the wall could perhaps, symbolize permanence and remembrance. “(since none puts by the curtain I have drawn for you, but I)”(lines 9-10) shows that the Duke feels a some sort of control not towards the portrait but towards the dead Duchess as the portrait appears to be “as if she were alive” (line 1). Browning could perhaps being giving the readers a hint about the Duke’s controlling nature. “Sir, twas not her….. dies along her throat”. (lines 13-19) According to the Duke, he wasn’t the real reason why the Duchess is smiling in portrait it was the compliments that she may have received by the painter that made brought that “spot of joy” on her face and consequently on the portrait. These lines show the insecure nature of the Duke. He feels insecure about the fact that he wasn’t capable of bring out that smile and the glow on the Duchess’s face that the painter was able to do so by supposedly flirting with her, he hints (lines 19-23, lines 28-30) towards a the Duchess having a loose character. As he feels that his late wife was easy to make “glad” and that “her looks went everywhere”. Also, note the usage of “dies along her throat” it could perhaps symbolize death or murder. Perhaps, Browning has made use of this to give the readers a clue about her death. Secondly, the poem is concluded by mentioning the statue of Neptune taming a seahorse. The statue in found in the same gallery as the portrait. The Duke mentions that the sculptor Claus of Innsbruck made this rare piece exquisitely for him in...

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