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My Last Duchess

Robert Browning

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structure oh structure, such pure excellent use of
Added by: hannah
this is such a fantastic poem. it really is one of my favourites. Brownings rich use of imagery makes this poem exquisite and mind bogglingly fabulous. Did any one consider that the structure is one of great meaning? the fact that it is written in the iambic pentameter means that it should have a constant rhythm, like a song or ballad, but Browning has written "MLD" so expertly, he makes it seem like the Duke is talking normally or without construction. this gives the reader such a large insight into the character of the Duke; he is calm and controlled on the surface, but underneath he is a bubbling volt of hot laver. just fantastic.
Great analysis!
Added by: Lisa
I love what a previous comment by Dane said (page 5) I think you did an amazing job breaking this poem down and giving concrete reasons for your interpretation. This poem is one of Browning's best and that is b/c it is so complex and the story itself is intriguing to the reader..everyone loves a juicy plot! Again-I loved what you did Dane and keep the ideas coming on other poems-I really like your ideas.
Added by: Tasha
This poem is confusing and although Roberty Browning seems an intelligent and intellect man, the poem suggests that he has issues that need confronting. I am analysing this poem for english and despite my limited understanding i hope for it not to be in my exam as it is an anything but simple text to read.

Added by: disha
i hav ebeen doing this in school now n it seems to give the sheer impression of male chauvenism.It is about a young, happy ,optimistic girl who is married to the duke of ferara .she used to be a happy girls smiling at everyone including the horse.but the duke is just so insecure that he thinks that it is not behoving of her to smile at every tom ,dick and harry.
he gets her potrait done by some painter who he later refers to as fra pandolf, because he suspects that there was an affair going on between his young wife and the painter whose name he did not want to expose.
during the rennaisance there were three main types of punishments given to a girl of a slightly poor character-divorce,exilement to a convent(convent life was very tuff) or being killed
So this the duke chose to punish her by poisoning her to death.
a poem which clearly indicates the insecurity and green blood of the duke of ferrara and his value for his possessions(the potrait of his dead wife) and his greed for money-he asked for dowry from the count for he was to be wedded with his daughter
last verse
Added by: sangee
in the last verse of the poem the dutch points out a broze statue of neptune taming a sea horse.and also says that it is the counte's daugther he is after and that he doesnot expect any dowry from the count. yet he says "The Count your Master's munificence" meaning i know your masters generosity and implying that he will get dowry even if he refuses.
The neputune sculpture is a sculpture of Power may imply him wanting to tame his wife.
and one can se he appreciates art but unable to appreciate life and his duchess when see was alive. he appreciates her dead and hung on the wall as a painting.
not serious
Added by: Chris
This poem isn't meant to be a social commentary on how men should own women. It's just witty and well-written in Victorian style. I think its brilliant. A convoy comes to the duke's house to discuss the dowry that he should pay to marry his master's daughter. The duke shows him around his house, specifically a painting of a former wife. He talks about how she is too impressed with petty, everday things when she should be impressed that she married a man from a family that has been established for 900 years. He had her killed most likely and talks so smoothly about it. Browning isn't trying to make you evaluate how Victorian men owned women- he's trying to put you in the place of the convoy who is coming to talk terms of a marriage proposal and instead finds out that the duke is a whack job and hints that he killed his wife because she was too easily impressed. The opening line itself is genius- you can read it so many ways for different effect. MY last duchess; my LAST duchess; my last DUCHESS.
Added by: Jeff
This is not a poem about men and women. Nor is it about individual psychopathology. This is about the mindset that comes with vast inherited wealth and power. I read one comment that said the duke hungered for power. The duke does not hunger for power - he doesn't hunger for anything at all. He is the embodiment of power. Hungering implies times when he had no power, but there has never been such a time. In the duke's world there are no ethics or morality, only the wishes of the duke. Other people, like his dead bride, are on a par with objects.
To find a modern example of the duke you could look a t George Bush and family. When Bush couldn't think of any mistake he has made it was because everything he has done has enriched himself and his ilk. From the duke's perspective it's all good. When he said, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." he meant it. When his mother said in Houston about the Katrina refugees living in a football stadium, "They are all disadvantaged anyway. This is working out well for them." she was expressing the casual lack of regard the rich have for humanity.
These times we are living through make Browning's poems much more important and applicable than they were in the 60's and 70's - the height of middle class culture in America.
Added by: Deb
Everyone on this forum does have a good point, however I want to say something about Laugh's post. Sure, the Duke hyas the right to be pissed off if his wife was having an affair but the question is, was she? We have to realise that Robert Browning's intention for this poem was to inform his readers about the awful situation of women in his time. Clearly he would want the women to appear to be the "victim" of the story otherwise there would be no point on commenting on Victorian society. He's trying to emphasise that the Duchess was unjustly kill and he being a man has caused the death of this cheerful lady through his own possessive and controlling nature.

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