My Last Duchess

Topics: Dramatic monologue, Robert Browning, My Last Duchess Pages: 4 (1455 words) Published: April 3, 2014

The Duke and His Duchess
What would one expect a mans personality and traits to be like if he was to send his wife away for being to easily impressed and made happy too soon? It is just the man Robert Browning portrays in his poem “My Last Duchess” as the Duke who explains a painting of his late wife in a dramatic dialogue. A quick glance at “ My Last Duchess” readers can easily pick up on at least one element: arrogance. The speaker of the poem exhibits arrogance rooted in his audacious sense of greed and dominance over others. But in order to really understand the Duke readers need to indulge into the dramatic dialogue, paying close attention to both what is said and unsaid. With arrogance, greed, and jealousy giving the reader the basis for the Dukes personality they also represent the three main elements presented in “My Last Duchess”.

The Duke is without a doubt a very possessive man that does not like when others take advantage of his so called possessions. The first time we get a glimpse at his greed is in line one of the poem when he states, “That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall.”(1) He shows the need to prove she was a piece of his property and that he essentially owns her just like he owns the painting of her. In addition, the Duke ‘s need to use the word “my” in front of a lot of things he talks about. From when he says “ My last Duchess” to even when he states “ My gift of a nine-hundred years old name.” (33)The Duke keeps the painting behind a curtain and gets to control when people are allowed o view the painting just like he wanted to have to power or controlling who got to see his wife’s smile when she was alive. The Duke seems pleased with himself in being able to preserve his wife’s smile in the artwork and being able to achieve the ownership he wanted before. The Duchess would often share that smile with everyone, instead of reserving it exclusively for the Duke. It seems she cared for her husband and would show him that smile...
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