Last Duchess' Is a Poem Narrated by Term Paper

  • Length: 2 pages
  • Sources: 1+
  • Subject: Literature
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #19924171
  • Related Topics: Poem Analysis

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Last Duchess' is a poem narrated by a widowed Duke as he looks at a portrait of his first wife. Through the Duke's voice it first appears that he is an evil character and should not marry another woman, less she be treated the same. With a more careful analysis and putting the Duke's words in the context of the situation, we see that the Duke has faults that his first wife provoked through her nature. From seeing this, we can reassess the poem and say that the Duke should remarry, with the right wife that tends to his needs able to ensure a suitable marriage.

The Duke is the narrator of the poem. The poem is narrated as the Duke speaks to the father of his next wife, who is there to negotiate the marriage, though this is not revealed until the end of the poem. The Duke passes the portrait of his first wife, who has recently died, and then begins to speak of his first wife.

In his speech it is revealed that the Duke is responsible for her death. The Duke raves about his wife, first talking about the portrait sessions and then moving onto her disgraceful behavior. In this behavior he speaks of, it appears that his wife did little wrong and it was more a case of the Duke's own faults.

The first thing we see about the Duke is that he was a jealous and controlling man. In describing the painting to his guest, he speaks of her look of joy and tells us that it was not only him that caused that look of joy,.".. Sir, 'twas not / / Her husband's presence only, called that spot / / Of joy into the Duchess' cheek" (13-15).

He later continues this, describing how the Duchess gave that smile to everyone and for any reason. He describes her as having a heart.".. too soon made glad / / Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er / / She looked on, and her looks went everywhere" (22-24).

Later as the Duke continues his speech, we see that his jealousy comes from her not being controlled by him and not having complete respect for him,.".. As if she ranked / / My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name / / With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame / / This sort of trifling?" (32-35).

Finally, we see the tragedy of this, when we realize that the Duke has killed his wife as a means of maintaining control of her, "Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt, / / Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without / / Much the same smile? This…

Sources Used in Documents:


Browning, R. The Poems. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.

Dupras, J.A. "Browning's 'My Last Duchess': Paragon and Parergon. Papers on Language and Literature, 32:1, pp 3-21.

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