The Jealous Duke
My Last Duchess by Robert Browning is a dramatic monologue, which involves a Duke who perceives himself to be a great man, when in reality, the reader sees him as a man with poor morals. The reader suspects that the Duke sees himself in a more positive image than what he actually is perceived as. While the Duke sees himself as controlling and mistreated, the reader sees him as jealous and controlling.
The Duke sees himself as powerful and mistreated this is shown within the dramatic monologue. “(since none puts by/ The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)” (9-10) The Duke reveals that he alone controls access to his late wife’s portrait. Even he has the power over the image as he did over his wife, this shows the reader that he believes he is always in control. He also believes that his last wife, mistreated him, which is shown in the quote, “She thanked men, – good! but thanked/ Somehow – I know not how – as if she ranked/ My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name” (31-3) The Duke believes his last Duchess mistreated him because she thanked everyone and was seen as not respecting the Dukes 900 year old name.
The reader can see that the Duke is jealous and controlling, which is shown in, “Sir, ’twas not/ Her husband’s presence only, called that spot/ Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek” (13-5). The Duke is offended that the Duchess other men gave the Duchess happiness and pleasure in anything other than him. She tries to hide her happiness from the Duke by blushing instead of smiling, but the Duke describes it as if though it were a stain of joy. “This grew; I gave commands;/ Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands/ As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet/ The company below, then” (45-8) From this section of the poem, the reader believes that the Duke had commanded someone to kill his wife. After he reveals that he gave commands, he politely asks his guests to walk downstairs, which shows that he can control all situations....
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