Robert Browning Makes You Laugh Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Humor in Browning's Work

Robert Browning's work of poetry entitled "My Last Duchess" provides a description of a piece of visual art. Depicted within that visual art is a woman of some means: a duchess, in fact. The speaker of the poem is the individual that quarters and perhaps even owns this particular work of art. The speaker is directing his verbal sentiments to a guest who is viewing the poem. That guest is male. In describing this work of visual art, the speaker tells the listener a fair amount about the duchess. However, the speaker provides this information solely within the context of the visual representation, and does so as a manner of explicating certain facets of the work of art.

Evidently, the duchess had a look on her face as though she were pleased with something. The author dedicates numerous lines to explaining the fact that the Duchess was frequently in good humor, regardless of any particular cause. He even further clarifies the fact that her smile and pleasant demeanor was infectious and that even the sight of the Duchess' likeness on the wall could produce such a smile on the face of the viewer in the work. The speaker's intimacy with the Duchess and certain phrases within this poem -- he refers to her as "my last Duchess" (Browning 387) as though he had more than one Duchess, implies that he was married multiple times -- suggests that the poem's speaker is the Duke or the husband of this particular Duchess.

I was not very fond of this work of literature, although there were parts of it that were fairly funny. One of the reasons that I did not like it was because of its rhyme scheme. I actually prefer the form of free verse in which rhyme is forsaken altogether. However, I found the copious amount of internal rhymes in certain passages amusing and perhaps even characteristic of certain song lyrics in contemporary times. For instance, the author writes, "Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse / E'en then would be some stooping and I choose / never to stoop" (Browning 388). Even when reading such verses to oneself, the repetition of the 'oo' sound is prominent and noticeable, which helps to inform one of the more lighthearted passages in this work.

The speaker's attitude towards the subject is also one that reinforces the humor…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Browning, Robert. "My Last Duchess." in Backpack Literature. Eds. Kennedy, X.J., Gioia, Dana.

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