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The reader has to decide whether or not this man has done away with the duchess, still behind the curtain with that passionate glance, perhaps showing her true nature? Or did she die in sorrow, informing the artist to paint that spot of joy in defiance of her pretentious jealous husband? My Last Duchess is written in iambic pentameter, that is, the lines have five iambic feet within usually ten syllables. The majority of the lines are pure iambic pentameter, bringing a steady rhythm and beat, but punctuation plays a major role in altering this from time to time.

Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. Foremost i'd like to say kudos for the work well done however i have a problem on the issue of fra pandoff's part of m,aybe flattering the duchess i dont really understand the line her mantle laps over my lady's wrist too much My Last Duchess is a dark but great poem, one of several Browning wrote on the nature of relationships between male and female. Appreciate your visit Ann. This brings up so many issues, doesn't it?

The arrogance of the man certainly comes across, as does the sinister tone and hint of what might have happened to his wife. You analyse well and educate us with your knowledge and insight, Andrew. I always come away better informed from these hubs of yours. Thank you. Some useful information from the West Coast, thank you. Browning's monologue shows how the rhythms with punctuation in place can create tension, reveal thought patterns, exploit pauses and so on.

Appreciate the visit, many thanks. Browning's poem is a marvel. He gets inside Ferrera's mind, takes the reader one way then the other. Let's put it this way,I wouldn't want to marry the guy! I remember studying this poem in school very well. Thanks for sharing your analysis, Andrew. I enjoyed reading the article and thinking about the poem again. I've read through this twice and still need to review it once again.

So much material and so well presented. You are truly the master of Poetic Analysis. Hey Andrew, yes, Hannawalt does draw some from Chaucer, and quote his lines throughout her book, but she prefers non-literary sources, she says, because Chaucer's work, "being a "higher" type of literary output, And also that his work had already been drawn from heavily for social evidence.

But I'm not even familiar with Chaucer's work, unlike yourself, I'm sure. I did read the rest of your analysis now, impressive! I'm keenly interested in the metrical analysis which you have beautifully decocted and deciphered. Should I, or not? It does have a dark side. And there's little light relief. But your obscure and fascinating book title reminded me of Chaucer's Wife of Bath, who was as strong a woman as you could wish for, gave as good as she got, and emerged from 4 or was it 5 marriages?

Yes, the battle of the sexes still rages on, the balance still not equal, tipping one way then t'other. Appreciate your visit. Andrew this is amazing work! I have to study it, just got through the introduction, will comment later may take awhile. Just a note on women's equality through history, there was a time, earlier in medieval England when a peasant woman had more equality, or at least her needs were accommodated through manorial courts and wills, I've read.

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A widow could own and inherit property, enter into contracts, and in some cases determine how property would be divided amongst her heirs. Hanawalt, Oxford University Press, a little obscure reading for a long winter's night. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners.

My Last Duchess

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My Last Duchess | Study Guide

To provide a better website experience, owlcation. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so. Andrew Spacey more. Robert Browning and My Last Duchess My Last Duchess is a dramatic monologue set in Renaissance Italy early 16th century and conveys the opinions of a wealthy noble man as he shows a marriage broker, an emissary, a painting of his late wife, 'my last duchess '.

He is variously described as: a devious, arrogant, materialistic aristocrat; an innocent, loving but profoundly vain soul; a malevolent, twisted murderer; a psychopathic, narcissistic, name-dropping killer. My Last Duchess is a fictional account of one man's attempt to explain away a picture behind curtains and by so doing convince himself and the emissary of the truth. But the truth could well be one extended lie - the duke being a pathological liar - an excuse for the continuation of control over his unfortunate first wife.

Browning's genius lies in his ability to keep the reader on the tightrope of uncertainty. Throughout the ambiguous monologue there is no moral judgement made; the audacious nature of the duke isn't questioned, we don't know if he's creating more untruths by pretending to reveal the truth.

The debate goes on and will likely never end. All the reader knows for certain is that the lady in the painting is no longer alive. Or is she? Line by Line Analysis of My Last Duchess My Last Duchess, a dramatic monologue, is a single stanza poem made up of heroic couplets heroic is a term used for iambic lines , all fully rhyming. Lines 1 - 4 The speaker is a man of means, a duke no less, of Ferrara most likely, a town in Italy.

The woman in question is no longer alive but looks alive in the painting. What an odd thing to say. Of course a painting shows a person alive and not the opposite, dead. Does this imply that, when the painting was first hung, he couldn't stand to look at it because it reminded him of her beauty, her character? Or maybe the portrait was done too well, was too lifelike and so he felt compelled to put it behind a curtain?

Out of guilt? Lines 5 - 21 The duke asks the as yet unknown second person if he'd care to sit and study the portrait. But hold on a minute, strangers only appear to want to ask the duke but they dare not if they durst. The duke senses their trepidation perhaps. He's the only one allowed to move the curtain, implying control and possession over the duchess, even in death.

My Last Duchess

In other words, the duke is fabricating a story, attempting to brainwash the emissary or circumvent the truth by implying that the artist's flattery and compliments caused the duchess to blush. Lines 22 - 34 The duke goes on, seemingly unable to stop himself, telling of his wife's happy disposition and positive outlook on life. He'd have preferred a dour and subservient woman for a wife, not a blushing flirtatious type who had little truck with the traditions and trappings of wealth, which the duke clearly revelled in.

Nine hundred years of his family name was worth just as much as anyone's name to her. It's a slick piece of denial. The duke does have verbal skills. He's none stop going on about the picture, so when he denies having the skills it's a blatant pretence. Plus, he's really bringing the duchess down in this section of the dramatic lyric and giving the game away somewhat.

He admits that one or two of her traits disgusted him, and that he couldn't teach her differently.

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He says he never stooped that low down to her level? Remember he's talking to the man who will report to his own boss about the suitability of the duke for hand in marriage of a second aristocratic female. So the duke is constantly addressing this man as Sir In lines 45 and 46 the poem shudders and shocks. The duke had the smiles stopped - does this mean he had someone murder his wife? Or did he send her off to a convent never to be seen again?

Understanding "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning

Lines 47 - 56 The duke repeats what he said in lines 2 and What is the metre meter of My Last Duchess? It must be noted also that many lines are not pure iambic pentameter. Trochaic, spondaic and pyrrhic feet play their part, changing the beats and stresses, bringing particular emphasis, or not, to certain words and phrases. Spondees, a foot of two stressed syllables, bring energy and punch. Trochees are inverted iambs, so the stress is on the first syllable, falling away on the second. Pyrrhic feet, two unstressed syllables, tend to quietly fill in between iambs and other feet.

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  4. Sources The Hand of the Poet, Rizzoli, www. Good to have a visit from you. I hope the poem sparked happy memories, not too painful! But Browning has more in mind than simply creating a colorful character and placing him in a picturesque historical scene. 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.

    Thus the temporal setting allows Browning to again explore sex, violence, and aesthetics as all entangled, complicating and confusing each other: the lushness of the language belies the fact that the Duchess was punished for her natural sexuality. The desperate need to do this mirrors the efforts of Victorian society to mold the behavior—gsexual and otherwise—gof individuals. For people confronted with an increasingly complex and anonymous modern world, this impulse comes naturally: to control would seem to be to conserve and stabilize. Browning forces his reader to become involved in the poem in order to understand it, and this adds to the fun of reading his work.

    My Last Duchess | poem by Browning |

    It also forces the reader to question his or her own response to the subject portrayed and the method of its portrayal. She had A heart—how shall I say? 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.

    She thanked men,—good!