Analysis On The Narrator In Browning's "Last Duchess"

Essay by MccaddenSucksUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2004

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By: Lee A. Zito

The narrator in "My Last Duchess" immediately relieves his wife is dead, speaking as if to the reader directly. Being a proud braggart he babbles on about how Fra Pandolf painted this portrait of his last Duchess, making it seem as though having something done by this artist is extravagant or high society. He also refers to his guest in condescending ways as to make himself seem more important.

The Duke is proud of the way he exhibits control over those under himself, including his last Duchess. He clearly confesses this to his guest, and the suspicion over the faithfulness of his last Duchess is pondered. Eerily enough the guest asks the Duke "How such a glance came there," referring to his last Duchess' portrait. Which could be interpreted as, "How did she die? Or, why did she die?"

The Duke goes on describing comments made by Fra Pandolf which he jealously interprets as misconduct on his late wife's behalf.

After his suggestions are cast the reader begins to realize the Duke was extremely paranoid when it came to his wife's faithfulness to him, whether or not she was indeed faithful or not.

According to the Duke his wife was fond of everyone and everything. This ultimately could only be because the late Duchess was a polite and friendly woman, but that we do not know. The most we can say is that the Duke was jealous of this, it was something he could not stand to witness. She fond favor in everything, common things, and it was this that outraged the Duke most, to be compared to the common things that brought his Duchess joy. In fact the Duchess cherished all men as well as her husband, this is an utter...