Compare and contrast Robert Browning's My Last Duchess with an

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Compare and contrast Robert Browning's My Last Duchess with an

extract from U A Fanthorpe's Not My Best Side

The dramatic monologue, My Last Duchess by Robert Browning is set

around an imaginary Duke who is giving a tour of his mansion to a

messenger for the father of his future wife. U. A. Fanthorpe's poem is

themed around the painting St George and the Dragon by the artist

Uccello. Not My Best Side is broken up into three distinct verses, all

of which are monologues. The first is from the dragon's perspective;

the second that of the princess and the third verse, which I shall

focus on in this discussion is written from St George's perspective.

Not My Best Side is a modern monologue that illustrates very

humorously a contemporary point of view on a timeless work of art.

Browning is vague about the time that his poem is set but the poem

reflects a Victorian interest in the art, culture and history of the

late gothic/early renaissance.

Right from the outset it is clear that the Duke in Browning's poem has

lived a life of luxury. One can deduce this almost immediately as not

only is he a member of the aristocracy but he lives in a mansion and

has the money to commission a painting of his former wife for the wall

of his mansion. The starts as well as the final few lines of the piece

indicate very clearly that the Duke is someone who is a connessieur.

He is a materialist and very proprietorial. The same can be said of St

George as portrayed in Not My Best Side. The first word uttered by the

dragon slayer is I. This indicates to the reader that St George is,

like the Duke full of self-importance, egotistical and arrogant. The

rhythm of the first line is especially emphatic.

My Last Duchess is written i...

... middle of paper ...

...e's former wife is dead, the shock

that this creates is palpable, as one would not expect such a rich and

sophisticated man to do such a nasty, horrible and dirty thing. The

Duke, however, feels that he can get away with such behaviour and a

man in his position is immune from the sanctions that apply to other


The Duke is satisfied with the painting, as finally in his mind's eye

he owns his former wife.

These two poems are different in many ways the authors are of

different genders and they are written at different times yet they

share many similarities. They are both dramatic monologues and they

both focus on the character of selfish, greedy egotistical men who

hold women in a very low regard. However and most crucially both the

Duke and St George feel that there is nothing wrong or abnormal with

their way of living and their views and opinions.
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