Analysis of My Last Duchess and The Laboratory Essay

Analysis of My Last Duchess and The Laboratory Essay

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“My Last Duchess” and “The Laboratory” are two very diverse yet similar poems written by Robert Browning within the period of three years. In this essay I am going to carefully consider the techniques, language and imagery that Browning uses in these two poems. I am also going to compare the two poems together and how Browning creates the voice and character of the persona in each poem.
My Last Duchess was written by Robert Browning in 1842. The poem is a dramatic monologue. The poem flows as there are mid-line pauses (caesura) rather than the poem coming to a halt at the end of each line. I think this is deliberate from Browning to make the poem flow more easily. The poem begins by the Duke merely showing his collection of art and various works to his emissary. He then comes to a lifelike portrait of his own wife who is now dead. In my opinion the Duke remembers her as no less than a piece of art that has been created by his orders. This is a general pattern throughout the poem where the Duke considers himself to be the most prestigious man who has ever lived. He believes that men are the dominant race above women. He is a complete image of sexism in his time. Browning keeps some of the imagery vague in the poem I believe this is to leave the reader of the poem to think themselves about the attitude of the Duke. You could perhaps say that he has a flirtatious wife who treasures others gifts as she treats the Duke’s. You could suggest that she may have had affairs with these other men but Browning leaves this to our imagination. I believe the Duke is an unstable man whose jealousy drives him to the limit to eventually finish his wife off. He believes that total control was a natural thing for him.
Moving on to the Laboratory. ...


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... the reader thinking about the poem in whatever way they like. Similarly with “My last duchess” Robert browning deliberately leaves some text vague yet some vivid to pose questions to the reader. He uses plenty of metaphors in both poems. I think this is again for the same reason which has been mentioned earlier. He is definitely trying to give the reader a thought but he leaves the thought abruptly for us to imagine about it. In my opinion this pattern is very frequent throughout the two poems.
To arrive at my conclusion all these techniques work together extremely well in both poems to give some of the greatest poems of his time. These two poems are especially recognised for the language, imagery and techniques that the poet uses to create a feeling of jealousy and disgust of the reactions of both the Duke in “My Last Duchess” and the Woman in “The Laboratory.”

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