Essay 3A

Topics: My Last Duchess, Robert Browning, Dramatic monologue Pages: 2 (613 words) Published: April 24, 2015
“My Last Duchess,” a poem by Robert Browning, was written about an odd man, the Duke of Ferrara. In the poem, Ferrara is showing his house to a visitor in hopes of bettering his chances of marriage with the visitor’s master’s daughter. Although his story starts out relatively normal, it quickly turns very dark when he starts to tell the story of his late wife, his last duchess. While telling the story, the Duke reveals three disturbing aspects of his nature.

In the beginning of the poem, the Duke shows a portrait of his late wife to the visitor and then begins to explain how her habits irritated him. Although complaining about his dead wife to a visitor seems quite odd, what is even more disturbing is what upset him about her in the first place. He thought she was too easily impressed by everything and it made him jealous. It would have been more understandable if he had only been irritated by her appreciation of the men around her, however, even her appreciation of the setting sun made him jealous. He says, “she liked she liked whate’er she looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, ’twas all one! My favor at her breast, the dropping of the daylight in the west,”(769) It’s obvious that his jealousy is out of control, but what he reveals to the visitor next is even worse.

After he describes the things that made him jealous, he then goes on to explain that to take care of the problem, he had his wife killed. The Duke says, “I gave commands; then all smiles stopped together.”(770) He even acknowledges that he did think about explaining to her how he felt, as opposed to killing her. However, he deemed it unsuitable because he considered it stooping. He explains to the visitor “Even had you skill in speech—which I have not—to make your will quite clear to such and one, and say, ‘Just this or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, or there you exceed the mark’—and if she let herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set her wits to yours, forsooth, and made...
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