“ My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning. Angelique Jones & Dieynaba Diong D3 English IV Honors . Introduction.
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“My Last Duchess”by Robert Browning Angelique Jones & Dieynaba Diong D3 English IV Honors
Introduction The author of “My last Duchess” is Robert Browning. Browning was born on May 7,1812 in Camberwell,England. As a young child , Browning was bright and he was heavily influenced by his artistic and scholarly father. He learned to speak many different languages as a child and by the age of 12, he wrote his first poem “Incondita”.In 1828 Browning atteneded The University of London, but soon left to learn and write at his own pace. Browning published many peoms and wrote plays anonymously but for the most part, they were unsuccesful. In 1846, Browning married fellow poet Elizabeth Barrert and during their marriage he wrote his best peoms in her honor. Browning lived under his wife’s light as a poet. Browning was awarded honorary degrees by Oxford University in 1882 and the University of Edinburgh in1884 and on his death in 1889 his last his final volume of verse, Asolando, was published. Historical Background My last duchchess was published in 1842. 1842 just so happened to be apart of the era that many poets clamied to be the era of novels. Many people didn’t like poems as much during this era. In addtion, this was also the “Victorian Age” , the age under the rule of Queen Victoria. Brownings peoms are the complete oppostie of the sweet love sounding poems and that is was set him aside from other authors. Browning’s inspiration for "My Last Duchess" was the history of a Renaissance duke, Alfonso II of Ferrara, whose young wife Lucrezia died in suspicious circumstances in 1561. Robert Browning takes history and turns it into an gateway for readers to experience drama and suspense. Browning hints at the real-life Renaissance back-story by putting the word "Ferrara" under the title of the poem as an epigraph, he removes the situation from most of its historical details.
Brief Summary of Poem. In my last Duchess, the Duke is looking for a new wife and the Duke has to entertain an emissary who has come to negotiate the Duke’s marriage to the daughter of another powerful family. As he tours his home with the emissary, the Duke stops by the portrait of a beautiful young woman. The Duke reminisces about the process of watching the portarait being made and then he goes into reminiscing about the actual woman. He begins to describe her beauty but the converstaion turns left when he starts to describe her behavior. He says that she flirted with everybody and she didn’t appreciate the gift of his last name. As the conversation continues, the readers sees that the Duke was the cause of her death because he says that “he gave commands; then all smiles stopped together”. The Duke then moves forward and continues to his tour, as if his revelation about his last Duchess is irrelevant. Thesis Statement In his poem, Robert Browning uses a dramatic monologue to create a suspenseful storyline. Robert Browning’s lines in the poem are continuous from line to line and her colorful diction makes a horricfic, psychopath seem like a victim.
Theme and Tone The two most important themes of My Last Duchess is power and jealousy. One of the themes of My Last Duchess is power because the Duke believes that he has power over everyone and everything. In in 55, the Duke says that he needed to control her just as Neptune would (“taming a sea-horse”).In addition, jealousy was a theme in the poem. The Duke was jealous the his Duchess flirted with anyone and that she didn’t appreciate “My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name”. Some words that allude to the themes are trifling, disgusts me, munificence, & Taming
Figurative Language and Poetic Devices. Browning uses figurative language to allow the audience to experience to poem as the emissary. Browns figurative language such as “That's my last Duchess painted on the wall, looking as if she were alive”(line 1). Another example is in lines 54-56 “Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,taminga sea-horse, thought a rarity, which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!”; Browning used this line to compare his dominance to his wife to Neptune’s dominance over his sea-horses. As far as poetic devices, Browning uses a dramatic monologue, which creates a dramatic climax throughout the poem.
Poem Interpretation In lines 21-24, “Sir, ’twas not Her husband’s presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek” the Duke is basically implying that his wife is promiscuous. He feels that she is too easily impressed by other men and that makes him dislike her. In lines 42-43, “E’enthen would be some stooping; and I choose Never to stoop”, The Duke feels it is beneath him to address his wife of his concerns. He feels that he would be stooping beneath him and that she should hurry up and change her attitude.
Conclusion In his poem, Robert Browning uses a dramatic monologue to create a suspenseful storyline. Robert Browning’s lines in the poem are continuous from line to line and her colorful diction makes a horricfic, psychopath seem like a victim. Literary devices such as mood, theme, and figurative language plays a huge role in poems like My Last Duchess; it allows the audience to experience the intended emotion that the author wanted to evoke in the reader. It also allows the reader to truly understand the purpose and meaning of the text and it allows us to enjoy and appreciate not only the poem, but the author’s creativity as well.
Works Cited • Robert Browning’s Poetry." SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. • Robert Browning." - Poets.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. <http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/182>. • "My Last Duchess Themes." Shmoop. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.