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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