“My Last Duchess” is written as a dramatic monologue, which is a poem
that is read as if on stage, talking to an audience or character in a
play. This method of writing has been used because the poem wants to
give one perspective, the Duke’s, in an effective manner. By using
this technique, Browning is also silencing the antagonist, the
Duchess, and becoming the protagonist. The rhyming scheme consists of
rhyming couplets, which give the poem a sense of order, and make the
speaker, the Duke in this case, seem well educated and in control of
their emotions and actions.
These methods of writing help show the character of the protagonist
and the way he viewed the traditions during the Victorian times.
There are two different views in which this poem can be interpreted,
the Marxist, and the feminist. The Marxist view interprets the poem as
if the Duke thinks of everything as his object, and the feminist
viewpoint makes the Duke look as if he doesn’t treat the Duchess as he
The Duke’s personality is revealed by different aspects in the poem,
for example the rhyming scheme, rhyming couplets, makes the poem flow
more easily, which leaves no gaps for interruption. This shows the
Duke’s love of being the centre of attention and being in control.
The Duke also shows this keenness of control when he says the painting
is of “my last Duchess”, showing he treated her as just another
article in his collection of art. The Duke also mentions Frà Pandolph
in his conversation with the count’s servant, showing he is proud of
the painting he has of the Duchess and he is showing off about having
a great artist to paint this picture that he calls “a wonder”.
... middle of paper ...
abuses and unhealthy attainment of material goods in the Victorian
society. The Duke is shown to be a very materialistic person in the
way he speaks of the Duchess as if she were an object he had acquired
instead of a loving wife.
`Frá Pandolph’ by design:
This shows the Duke’s materialism, because he is showing off about
having such a good artist paint a picture of his last Duchess. The
Duke also takes innocent, worthless things, to us, like his
“nine-hundred-years-old name”, which she, according to the Duke, took
from him like it was anything else she had been given before by a man.
Near the end of the poem, the Duke’s love of control and materialism
is summed up in one passage, in which he thinks himself as a powerful
God taming a beautiful, excitable animal:
Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a seahorse, thought a rarity.
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