My Last Duchess
Browning’s use of dramatic irony can be seen in the dramatic monologue of the Duke. The Duke views himself as a powerful person with “a nine-hundred-years-old name” while the reader views him as possessive. His tone is very possessive and haughty as he talks about how disgusted he was with the Duchess. The diction makes the Duke sound like he begins to rush what he says about the Duchess as he thinks more about her. His sentences are moving along as his train of thought goes on and on about the Duchess.
The Duke begins by introducing the painting of the Duchess. He believes the picture makes it looks as if she were alive; implying that she might be dead. He notes that she has been flirtatious when he states that she was brought joy “not (from)/ Her husband’s presence only” (14). The Duke’s tone is disguised because the reader can feel that he is angered by her past actions, but he continues to describe his former Duchess as if he would a painting. The reader can sense is discontent as he maintains his description of her flirtatious nature.
However, the Duke begins to feel insult as her coy nature disregards his “gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name / With anybody’s gift.” (33-34). His haughtiness is felt after this statement because he places himself in a higher position and feels insulted by being treated the same way as the other men she saw. He states that this type of action “disgusts” ( 38) him and being powerful, he doesn’t sit on the side and does nothing. He chooses “never to stoop” (43) and takes action.
As her behavior continued, his irritation “grew” (45) and he began to become possessive. He refers to his actions as “commands” (45) and when implemented, “all (of her) smiles stopped altogether”. Repetition of “There she stands/ As if alive” ( 46-47) begins and ends his story. He moves away from the recollection and begins to talk about meeting with other people. As they talk, he begins to talk about the other pieces...
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