The duke and his duchess

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 10th grade February 2008

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

Downloaded 608 times

In Robert Browning's dramatic monologue "My Last Duchess" there are two characters that many people can be compared to in the world today. The two characters are Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara and his Duchess. Throughout the monologue the duke is described as being conceited, arrogant and perhaps maybe even psychotic. While his Duchess is the opposite of him, a person who enjoys life and everything it has to offer.

The Duke is somewhat of a conceited person because of the comments he makes. In one part of the monologue the duke is talking to a Fra Pandolf, an imaginary monk and painter. He says that his presence (the duke) is causing the happiness of the duchess in a painting that the Fra Pandolf is painting. The line says "Sir, 'twas not her husband's presence only, called that spot of joy into the Duchess Cheek (Lines 13-15)." Just by reading this remark you know that the duke is a self-centered person that wants attention for him.

In lines 34-35 he talks of how his duchess would thank every man that would please her in some sort of way. The duke gets upset at this and says that "She thanked men - good! But thanked somehow - I know not how - as if she ranked my gift of nine-hundred-years-old name with anybody's gift (Lines 31-34)." As you can see, the duke gets upset because his duchess thanks the men who pleased her in a manner that that the duke viewed as inappropriate because he wanted all of her attention for himself. In line 42 he says that he will never bow down to anything and that any orders that he gives will be followed. This shows the reader that the duke is also an arrogant, self-centered person.

Throughout the monologue you also get the feeling that the duke may be psychotic. Throughout the poem the duke is talking to imaginary people. He talks to Fra Pandolf, an imaginary monk and painter and to Claus Innsbruck, an imaginary sculptor. Other evidence that backs up the notion that the duke may be psychotic is the fact that when he talks to his duchess, he is talking to painting. "There she stands as if alive. Will't please you rise? We'll meet the company below (Lines 46-48).

The duchess on the other hand, is very different from the Duke. She is the type of person that enjoys life and everything it has to offer. She liked whatever she looked on. She liked to ride a horse in the terrace while some guy would go into the orchard and bring her a bough of cherries. As you can see the duchess is a type of person whom is very happy and enjoys things that most people who enjoy life also enjoy.

The Duchess is also an innocent character. In lines 20-25 of the monologue you can see that the duchess is a person that can be easily pleased. She has the characteristics of a child, which give the Duchess that innocent identity. "She had a heart - how shall I say? -Too soon made glad, too easily impressed; she liked whatever she looked on, and her looks went everywhere (Lines 21-24)." The characters of the Robert Browning' "My last Duchess" can be compared to many people in our society. The Duchess has the characteristics of those people who are caring and innocent and the duke has the characteristics of those people that are cruel and self centered.