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Jul 24

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Critical Analysis of My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

Background:. “My Last Duchess” is a dramatic monologue of Robert Browning. It is a poem with a character who presents an account concentrating on a particular topic. This character speaks all the words in the poem. Browning’s inspiration for “My Last Duchess” was the history of a Renaissance duke, Alfonso II of Ferrara, whose young wife Lucrezia died in apprehensive circumstances in 1561. Lucrezia was becoming one of the most powerful and wealthy in Europe at the time. During Lucrezia’s lifetime, she herself never got to enjoy riches and status; when she is at 14 she got married but she did not gain much opportunity to enjoy her life.

When she was only 17 she left the world. After her death, Alfonso courted the niece of the Count of Tyrol and eventually he got married again.

Summary: During his discourse, the speaker intentionally or unintentionally reveals information about one or more of the following: his personality, his state of mind, his attitude toward his topic, and his response or reaction to developments relating to his topic. The main focus of a dramatic monologue is this personal information, not the topic which the speaker happens to be discussing. Apparently the Duchess was easily pleased:

she smiled at everything, and seemed just as happy when someone brought her a branch of cherries as she did when the Duke decided to marry her. She also flushed easily. The Duchess’s friendly nature was enough to throw the Duke into a jealous, psychopathic rage, and he “gave commands” (45) that meant “all smiles stopped together” (46). We’re guessing this means he had her killed although it’s possible that he had her shut up somewhere, such as in a convent. But its way is more exciting if anybody can interpret it as murder and most critics do. After telling this story to the servant of the family, which might provide his next victim, the Duke takes him back downstairs to continue their business.

Setting and Background: The setting of “My Last Duchess,” by Robert Browning, is the palace of the Duke of Ferrara on a day in October 1564. It is a highly admired poem.

 

The Representation of the Duchess: The representation of the late Duchess of Ferrara is a fresco. It is a type of work painted in watercolors directly on a plaster wall. The representation symbolizes the duke’s possessive and controlling nature inasmuch as the duchess has become an art object which he owns and controls.

Rhythm:.”My Last Duchess” is mentioned in iambic pentameter. Each line of the poem has ten syllables, or five feet. The ten syllables consist of five pairs of unstressed and stressed syllables.

 

Edited by: Mahir Foysal. Dhaka, Bangladesh. Cell: +8801919879309, +8801761519111.

 

About the author

Mahir

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