My Last Duchess by Robert Browning Analysis

Essay by ilnet2000College, UndergraduateA, October 2009

download word file, 13 pages 0.0

Downloaded 15 times

My Last Duchess by Robert Browning is a poem that takes place during the Renaissance, in which the reader can conclude that the speaker punishes his last wife for asserting her natural sexuality, due to the fact of the Duke’s evident jealousy and his controlling possessive nature. Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess is one of the most famous dramatic monologues; his use of the soliloquy is essential because it reveals the speaker’s characteristic traits in a way that the reader learns tremendously about the main character in matter of minutes. The duchess’s demise could have been prevented, had the Duke communicated his suspicions with his wife. The duchess’s innocence and naivety was unfavorable to her because she was unaware that her actions caused the Duke to jump to his conclusions.

The speaker of the poem, Alfonso II d’Este, is the Duke of Ferrara in the sixteenth century. At this point, the Duke has been recently widowed and he is entertaining an emissary.

This emissary is the Count of Tyrol, and he has come to negotiate the Duke’s marriage to his daughter. Alfonso shows the Count of Tyrol his lovely palace, in which he has many portraits and works of art in his corridor. However, he specifically tells the Count to pay close attention to a portrait of a young lovely lady, who happens to be his last wife, the duchess of a prominent family in Florence. He begins a dramatic monologue, telling the Count of his wife’s deplorable behavior. He tells him that her eyes used to wander, and how she would smile and flirt with other men. He tells the Count that she did not appreciate “the gift of a nine-hundred-year old name.” As the poem progresses, the reader can conclude that the Duke caused the duchess’s early demise.