Indeed, they often leave out more of a story than they actually tell. However, if the duke executed a faithful, kind-hearted wife who failed to revere her husband above all others, then we are witnessing a monologue performed by a monster. The wife can be described as being a flirt, friendly, happy, and a people person. My favour at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule She rode with round the terrace—all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Or blush, at least. The duke attempts to be an artist in his life, turning a walk down the hallway into a performance, but he is always hampered by the fact that the ideal that inspires his performance cannot change.
It also forces the reader to question his or her own response to the subject portrayed and the method of its portrayal. Nikolaus Madruz, an emissary of the count was used during the arrangement of this marriage, and it is believed that he is the silent listener to whom the duke in the poem is speaking. The poem takes place in media res of the Duke consulting and arranging his second marriage. Later in the poem, the speaker invokes images of evil pirates and a man being banished to hell. She had A heart—how shall I say? What this could suggest is that the duchess was in fact guilty of greater transgression than he claims, that instead of flirtation, she might have physically or sexually betrayed him.
He is talkative, polite, arrogant, and obsessive. This symbolizes the Duke, and the sea-horse symbolizes any Duchess he would acquire. He also seems irritated that she does not seem to understand the importance of his place in life. His choice of words reinforces one of the major themes of the poem: the way he sold himself out. In this section, the Duke seems to be remembering his former Duchess and all that bothered him about her. The presumably the Duke of Ferrara is giving the emissary of the family of his prospective new wife presumably a third or fourth since Browning could have easily written 'second' but did not do so a tour of the artworks in his home. The portrait was painted by Fra Pandolf, a monk and painter whom the duke believes captured the singularity of the duchess's glance.
This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. The lines do not employ end-stops; rather, they use enjambment—gthat is, sentences and other grammatical units do not necessarily conclude at the end of lines. This is a curious thing to say. GradeSaver, 27 January 2013 Web. The Duke can shape his speech into couplets, but his thoughts strain against that structure and try to break it. In 'My Last Duchess' the Duke of Ferrara is addressing the envoy of the Count of Tyrol.
The enjambment works against the otherwise orderly meter to remind us that the duke will control his world, including the rhyme scheme of his monologue. Section 5 Lines 47-56 The company below then. His arrogance and jealousy stem from his aristocratic ancestry and we, the audience, see him as a shallow human being unable to ever show true love to his Duchesses. The duke's life seems to be made of repeated gestures. As a result I believe that the Duke killed his wife, or had someone to put her to her death. By doing so, he not only reveals information about his former wife, but he sheds light on his own character, including possibly admitting to her murder.
He might not reveal his explosive emotions to the courtier as they sit and look at the painting, but the reader can deduce that the duchess' lack of worshipfulness infuriated her husband. In these latter considerations Browning prefigures writers like Charles Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde. The speaker is arrogant and patronizing. It would seem that he put away his Duchess because he could not control her feelings. In a dramatic monologue, the speaker addresses a distinct but silent audience.
She did not seem to be any more thankful for this than she was thankful to watch the sun set. It engages the reader on a number of levels — historical, psychological, ironic, theatrical, and more. As such, in reading this poem, the reader finds the duke to be self-centered, arrogant, controlling, chauvinistic and a very jealous man. The ironic disconnect that colors most of Browning's monologues is particularly strong here. His characters served as personae that let him adopt different traits and tell stories about horrible situations. Themes, Motifs and Symbols Themes Multiple Perspectives on Single Events The dramatic monologue verse form allowed Browning to explore and probe the minds of specific characters in specific places struggling with specific sets of circumstances.
There she stands As if alive. . He does not reveal whether she is deceased or put away in a convent somewhere. The speaker is cruel and murderous Points 170. It makes you think about criminals in a new way, but sometimes, it can go to a more negative view. But the syntax, or sentence structure, of the poem pulls against its rhyme scheme. Objectively, it's easy to identify him as a monster, since he had his wife murdered for what comes across as fairly innocuous crimes.
Even in death the Duke wished to hide her away behind the curtain where no other man could admire her beauty. The other characters named in the poem — painter Frà Pandolf and sculptor, Claus of Innsbruck — are fictional. The question that still remains unanswered is, why is this his last Duchess? Rather, the specific historical setting of the poem harbors much significance: the Italian Renaissance held a particular fascination for Browning and his contemporaries, for it represented the flowering of the aesthetic and the human alongside, or in some cases in the place of, the religious and the moral. Notice Neptune, though, Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me! The first contradiction to consider is how charming the duke actually is. The speaker is arrogant and patronizing. The Duke did not like that she would blush at the flirtations of another man. His Duchess is an object, a possession.
Wives were viewed as disposable, and their husbands would often accuse them to do away with them when they desired to marry someone else. To make the image even more grotesque, the speaker strangles Porphyria with her own blond hair. This final stanza suggests that his story of murder is meant to give proactive warning to the woman he is soon to marry, but to give it through a backdoor channel, through the envoy who would pass it along to the count who might then pass it to the girl. She came with a sizeable , and the couple married in 1558. While showing this portrait of his last Duchess, the Duke begins to reminisce on their lives together, and, although he chooses his words carefully as he speaks, he ends up telling the visitor more than he realizes. The poem is a great example of dramatic dialogue, a poetic form used to narrate and dramatize. In the same way that the age of his name gives it credence, so does he seem fit with a life of repeated gestures, one of which he is ready to make again with the count's daughter.