My Last Duchess

July 12, 2017 | Author: raab1 | Category: Poetry
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Title (1st person): Sense of ownership, sense of sequences and aristocracy. Immediate and pronounced separation between the poet and speaker – establishes it within the framework of dramatic monologues.

Genre: Plays with the gothic tradition of examining the dark secrets behind old money.

My Last Duchess – Robert Browning Begins by establishing location (same as River God)


Achieving immortality through art. There is an untold story hidden by the details of the painting – just as with this poem. Similar to Ozymandias – the significance of artefacts.

That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call Use of full-rhyming couplets That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf’s hands throughout shows another Worked busily a day, and there she stands. affiliation with Shakespearean theatre. Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said However, couplets are less Deliberate use of “Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read conventional for long ambiguity/ innuendo to Strangers like you that pictured countenance, narratives, which makes this suggest jealousy The depth and passion of its earnest glance, feel contrived. But to myself they turned (since none puts by the curtain I have drawn for you, but I) Metaphor for the letting out of And seemed they would ask me, if they durst, secrets. How such a glace came there; so not the first Archaic diction evocative of Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ‘twas not character – clearly dating the Her husband’s presence only, called that spot speaker as a distant figure. Repetition of his full name Of joy into the Duchess’s cheek: perhaps suggests an Fra Pandolf chanced to say “Her mantle laps obsession/fixation The character’s secrets Must never hope to reproduce the faint are betrayed by Half flush that dies along her throat”: such stuff semantics as he chooses Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough Browning makes it clear words from an obviously For calling up that spot of you. She had that meaning is to be violent field. A heart-how shall I say? –too soon made glad, gained through interrogating euphemisms Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er The Duke’s attempt at She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. politeness begins to slip The Duke’s self-interjections Sir, ‘twas all one! My favor at her breast, as the source of his become a sign of instability The dropping of the daylight in the West, hidden turmoil emerges or an inability to conceal his – Browning achieves this The bough of cherries some officious fool guilt. through listing the Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule Duke’s grievances. She rode with round the terrace—all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Or blush, at least. She thanks men—good! But thanked Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked Browning reminds us that C&V Themes – What do our speaker is born into a My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name each of the characters in wealthy lineage, cementing With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame these poems value most? the gothic nature of the piece This sort of trifling? Even had you skill and creating a sense of In speech—(which I have not)—to make your will superiority. Quite clear to such a one, and say, “Just this Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss Or there exceed the mark”—and if she let Emphasis on the importance of Use of enjambment, as with Herself be lessoned so, not plainly set keeping up appearances – a ‘river God’ shows an inability to fully collate and character who values this over her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse separate his stories from his --E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose human life. emotions. Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt Whene’er I passed her; but passed without

Much the same smile? This grew; I gave her commands; Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands The question (rhetorical) suggest that the Duke has no real awareness of who he is speaking to or his vast impropriety.

Browning hints at a sense of guilt behind the tyranny?

Ambiguity – the Duke thinks that he has been more clever than he has – Browning’s comment on arrogance and wealth?

Voice: clear distinction between public and private conversations.

As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet the company below, then. I repeat The count your mater’s known munificence Is ample warrant that no just pretence of mine dowry will be disallowed Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed Browning’s evocation of At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go an extreme patriarchy – Chooses art appealing to his Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, perhaps on a comment on vanity/desire to be god-like. Taming a sea horse, thought a rarity, Italian society. Which claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me! Preoccupation with artists and prestige. Structure: We only find out who the listener is at the end to give a sense of the Duke’s contrived behaviour and also for a bleak, comic effect in realising who is being told all this info.

Key Language: connotation, imagery, metaphor, simile Structure and form: stanzas, type, patterns, contrast, juxtaposition Poetic methods: alliteration, caesura, assonance, rhythm, rhyme Character and voice: who is speaking and to whom? Tone of voice Links: comparisons to other speakers, methods and themes

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