My Last Duchess
By Robert Browning
Submitted to: Mrs. Parsons Gill
Submitted by: Jenny Dewland
Date: September 24th 2012
1. The title of the poem being “My Last Duchess” refers to the Duke of Ferrera’s late wife, in which he has recently been widowed due to her unknown death. As we read the title, the use of “MY Last Duchess” provides the fact that the poem is being told in first person, being the Duke himself. In the poem, he is having a showing of this beautiful painting on the landing on the grand staircase done by Fra Pandolf, allowing people to see his late wife, apparently a young and lovely girl. The Duke begins then reminiscing about the portrait sessions, about the Duchess herself and her despicable behavior of being too easily impressed, treating everyone equally, and everyone liking her so much. He claims she flirted with everyone and did not fully appreciate his “gift of nine-hundred-years-old name”. As the monologue goes on, “[he] gave commands; / Then all smiles stopped together.” and the reader is informed that the Duke was the one who caused his wife’s early death, due to his possessiveness, dominancy and jealousy. After this is all over, the Duke continues to make plans to find a new wife as soon as possible, and seeks to marry the Count of Tyrol’s daughter, however with the evidence provided in the poem we know that the Count will discover the torturous possessiveness and dangerous dominancy of the Duke that he will not allow this to happen. As this information of the Duke is let out to the public, he will have no future wives; therefore the Duchess he has formerly killed was indeed his last.
2. Fra Pandolf is the Italian artist that captured the entire beauty of the Duke’s last Duchess. We know this because as it reads “Fra Panolf’s hands worked busily a day, and there she stands.”, proving that Pandolf was indeed the one to paint this magnificent picture of the late wife. Also it reads “Will’t please you sit...
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