James B. Condit
November 5, 2012
Vanity (Character Analysis of the Duke)
The character of the Duke from “My Last Duchess,” authored by Robert Browning, 1842, is one full of conceit, extreme self-love and arrogant pride. I can relate his character traits to those as of one being comparable to the egotistical traits of “vanity”. Vanity places his value in irrelevant manner, and is one who perceives themselves as an incredible figure. Vanity is only concerned with being in complete control and views people as nothing more than mere objects and possessions. Vanity has an unduly high opinion and improper image of himself. Vanity reveals his narcissistic nature and obsession with power, jealousy, and authority.
Vanity enjoys showing off the portrait of his late wife, and feels that the amount of time he spent with her is equal to the quality of the artwork commissioned. “Looking as if she were alive,” (2) he states. As Vanity continues to speak, he reveals more than he should, possibly admitting to her murder. In a conceited manner, he states, “That is my last Duchess on the wall.”(1) Proudly boasting of the many Duchesses he already previously had. “The depth and passion of its earnest glance,” (8) he mentions, thus leaving one to wonder about his true feelings by referring to her as “it”. Vanity also is present in his jealousy of her and how she was “too easily impressed,” (23) as he shows, without value, he was afraid of losing her to other men, and selfishly controlling her.
He rears his arrogant head by stating, “She ranked my gift with anybody’s gift.”(33) His pride and nobility wounded, as his gift was not received with more respect, from her. “I call that piece a wonder now,” (3) he states. Vanity is so self-assuring, he tells his visitor, “This grew; I gave commands.” (45) Thus, implying his jealousy grew and he became so angered at her, he gave orders to have her murdered. ”Then all smiles stopped.” (46) Now, Vanity would...
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