What Would Continue to Make Robert Browning’s Poetry Worthy of Critical Study?

Topics: Victorian era, Dramatic monologue, My Last Duchess Pages: 3 (838 words) Published: November 12, 2011
Robert browning-speech
What would continue to make Robert Browning’s poetry worthy of critical study? ‘Half-flush that dies along her throat’. ‘In one long yellow string I wound three times her little throat and strangled her’. Wow, are they insane? Or are they simply just scared and insecure? For more than a century Robert Browning has been known for his dramatic monologues. Through the use of Dramatic monologue, Browning freely questions the concerns of the Victorian society through the use of enjambment creating a flow of unity and natural speech. Funnily enough, many of the issues he raises are just as relevant today in our times. First of all there is his brilliant study of insanity- two of his protagonists are insane killers of two beautiful women who they can’t control. Coincidence maybe? Also, other concerns such as - the domination of men, our moralities and the idea of self-delusion: the difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us.

But what influenced him to question the values of the Victorian society? Well, the Victorian Era is a period after the Renaissance where people start to question different areas of the aspect of life. One major aspect was dominance of men. As seen through My Last Duchess, the Duke of Ferrara is portrayed as a condescending figure who has a very possessive and controlling nature through the quote “The curtain I have drawn for you” we see the Duke’s action as being inordinately possessive: no-one but he draws the curtain over the portrait; his wife is now hanging like an object in the gallery. However throughout his monologue, the audience can see insecurity that the Duke has despite his arrogant behaviour due to his need of justification for the actions he had done through the use of asides “She thanked men- good! But thanked somehow- I know not”. Hence, it is due to his insecurity of not able to control her since “She looked on and her looks went everywhere” plus his pride of ‘choosing never to...
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