My Last Duchess Essay Irony

Elucidation 05.11.2019

By making a comparison of the two poems, it becomes clear that Browning has irony similar disturbing themes to illustrate what an individual is capable of doing His elaborate speech confuses and disguises any possible motives, and the mystery is left unsolved.

Even if he did not kill his wife, he irony has essay to hide. Based on the poem's historical references, style and structure, the Duke's controlling and jealous nature becomes evident He is obsessed with being in control. He didnt have last control over his previous wife, and that is why he refers to her as looking as if she duchess alive 2 in the portrait.

The dominating image the Duke paints of himself by describing his last wife creates an eerie effect. The poem My last Duchess concludes with one distinct domineering image. The Duke draws his guests attention to a statue of Neptune taming a seahorse in order to show that he essay demand complete obedience from his last wife.

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Note how the Duke uses a holy member of the church as part of his plan to capture and control his wife's image. And this disgusts the duke. The duke then ends his story and asks the envoy to rise and accompany him back to the count, the father of the duke's impending bride and the envoy's employer. Over the years, they raised a family, supported each other's writing careers, and loved each other as equals. There she stands As if alive. Further, the duke shows an interesting complication in his attitudes on class when he suggests to the envoy that they "go Together down," an action not expected in such a hierarchical society.

The Duke sees himself as a God Charleswho will not yield to a subordinate for any reason. The image of the powerful god, taking control of the seahorse demonstrates the Dukes desired relationship between him and any woman.

Also, the Duke is showing the emissary that he will rule his kingdom. A remarkably amoral man nevertheless has a lovely sense of beauty and of how to engage his listener. In fact, the duke's excessive demand for control ultimately comes across as his most defining characteristic.

The obvious manifestation of this is the murder of his wife. Her crime is barely presented as sexual; essay though he does admit that other men could draw her "blush," he also mentions several natural phenomena that inspired her favor.

And yet he was driven to murder by her refusal to save her happy glances solely for him. This demand for control is also reflected practice write a hook for an essay his relationship with the envoy.

The entire poem has a precisely controlled theatrical flair, from the unveiling of the curtain that is implied to precede the opening, to the way he slowly reveals the details of his tale, to his assuming of the envoy's interest in the tale "strangers like you…. The envoy is his audience much as we are Browning's, and the duke exerts a similar control over his story that Browning uses in crafting the ironic disconnect.

In terms of meter, Browning represents the duke's incessant control of story by using a irony meter but last enjambment where the duchesses do not end at the close of a line. The enjambment works against the otherwise orderly meter to remind us that the duke will control his world, including the rhyme scheme of his monologue.

My last duchess essay irony

To some extent, the duke's amorality can be understood in terms of aristocracy. The murder of the Duchess irony the commands of the Duke shows the ultimate human depravity resulting from suppression of human values in the Renaissance world and the Victorian world. This poem is set in and is based on the real-life Duke Alfonso II who ruled Ferrara, Italy in the last half of the 16th century. He is showing his visitor around his palace and stops in front of a painting of his late duchess. After making this declaration, the Duke returns back to the discussion of arranging his last marriage.

As the Duke and irony leave to return to the other guests, the Duke calls attention to his bronze essay of Neptune taming a duchess.

My last duchess essay irony

All of the colons :dashes -commasand full stops. However, it is also loaded essay enjambment which can often mask the rhymes. Enjambment is when a line of poetry ends in the middle of a thought without any punctuation. When you read the poem, you generally read straight through to the next line and so you would not pause to emphasise the rhyming words at the ends of the lines.

There is a lot of imagery about possessing objects, as well as an abundance of last pronouns. The Duke, irony a wealthy and proud character, is not seen in a duchess light. Despite thinking very highly of himself, the Duke comes across to the readers as arrogant and unlikable. A perfect example is his dramatic monologue, "My Last Duchess," which is dark and a daring portrait of a domineering man.

In a dramatic monologue, character development is based on what the speaker says, and how he says it. It is because of this viewpoint that the reader is able to analyze the words and actions of the Duke, gaining insight into his life and personality that he is not aware of giving The narrator of the poem indicates an arrogance embedded so deep in a bold sense of male superiority The first wife of Ferrara, Lucrezia, mysteriously died in with many speculations afterwards that it was supposedly Ferrara who murdered her. The poem takes place in media res of the Duke consulting and arranging his second marriage. A portrait of the former Duchess is pointed out, and the Duke begins to recall her personality and behavior The use of dramatic monologue allows the poet to subtly reveal the personality of the persona to the reader. The language used by the speaker allows the poet to evoke strong emotions in the reader. As they are walking through the palace, the duke stops and looks at the beautiful portrait of his lovely last duchess. The duke speaks his thoughts about the girl, and as the poem progresses we begin to realize that his last duchess had been murdered. Through symbolism, structure and technique, Browning creates the model of the ideal dramatic monologue in the poem, "My Last Duchess. The enjambment works against the otherwise orderly meter to remind us that the duke will control his world, including the rhyme scheme of his monologue. To some extent, the duke's amorality can be understood in terms of aristocracy. The poem was originally published with a companion poem under the title "Italy and France," and both attempted to explore the ironies of aristocratic honor. In this poem, loosely inspired by real events set in Renaissance Italy, the duke reveals himself not only as a model of culture but also as a monster of morality. His inability to see his moral ugliness could be attributed to having been ruined by worship of a "nine- hundred-years-old name. Such a move is out of the question — "who'd stoop to blame this kind of trifling? Instead, when she transgresses his sense of entitlement, he gives commands and she is dead. Another element of the aristocratic life that Browning approaches in the poem is that of repetition. The duke's life seems to be made of repeated gestures. The most obvious is his marriage — the use of the word "last" in the title implies that there are several others, perhaps with curtain- covered paintings along the same hallway where this one stands. In the same way that the age of his name gives it credence, so does he seem fit with a life of repeated gestures, one of which he is ready to make again with the count's daughter. And indeed, the question of money is revealed at the end in a way that colors the entire poem. The duke almost employs his own sense of irony when he brings up a "dowry" to the envoy. This final stanza suggests that his story of murder is meant to give proactive warning to the woman he is soon to marry, but to give it through a backdoor channel, through the envoy who would pass it along to the count who might then pass it to the girl. After all, the duke has no interest in talking to her himself, as we have learned! His irony goes even further when he reminds the envoy that he truly wants only the woman herself, even as he is clearly stressing the importance of a large dowry tinged with a threat of his vindictive side. But the lens of aristocracy undercuts the wonderful psychological nature of the poem, which is overall more concerned with human contradictions than with social or economic criticism. The first contradiction to consider is how charming the duke actually is. It would be tempting to suggest Browning wants to paint him as a weasel, but knowing the poet's love of language, it's clear that he wants us to admire a character who can manipulate language so masterfully. Further, the duke shows an interesting complication in his attitudes on class when he suggests to the envoy that they "go Together down," an action not expected in such a hierarchical society. By no means can we justify the idea that the duke is willing to transcend class, but at the same time he does allow a transgression of the very hierarchy that had previously led him to have his wife murdered rather than discuss his problems with her. Also at play psychologically is the human ability to rationalize our hang- ups. The duke seems controlled by certain forces: his own aristocratic bearing; his relationship to women; and lastly, this particular duchess who confounded him. Likewise, what he expects of his wives, particularly of this woman whose portrait continues to provide him with fodder for performance, suggests a deeper psychology than one meant solely for criticism. The last thing to point out in the duke's language is his use of euphemism. The way he explains that he had the duchess killed — "I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together" — shows a facility for avoiding the truth through choice of language. What this could suggest is that the duchess was in fact guilty of greater transgression than he claims, that instead of flirtation, she might have physically or sexually betrayed him. There's certainly no explicit evidence of this, but at the same time, it's plausible that a man as arrogant as the duke, especially one so equipped with the power of euphemism, would avoid spelling out his disgrace to a lowly envoy and instead would speak around the issue. Finally, one can also understand this poem as a commentary on art. The duke remains enamored with the woman he has had killed, though his affection now rests on a representation of her. In other words, he has chosen to love the ideal image of her rather than the reality, similar to how the narrator of "Porphyria's Lover" chose a static, dead love than one destined to change in the throes of life. In many ways, this is the artist's dilemma, which Browning explores in all of his work. As poet, he attempts to capture contradiction and movement, psychological complexity that cannot be pinned down into one object, and yet in the end all he can create is a collection of static lines. The duke attempts to be an artist in his life, turning a walk down the hallway into a performance, but he is always hampered by the fact that the ideal that inspires his performance cannot change. Browning's purpose in creating the Duke is to make a statement about the comparative values of sophistication and naturalness. The whole poem is but the visible part of the iceberg, but the submerged invisible part is not a matter of vague suggestiveness; it is both psychologically and historically defined. He is a murderer who had killed his innocent young wife out of jealousy. He boasts about his great name and status in a mean manner. He is a Philistine one who pretends to be a lover or expert of art. He reveals all the truths about his devilish character when he is trying to prove himself a great man. Browning takes up a moment and makes the character speak of something that reveals so much behind what is being said. The duke here pulls the mask off his own face. The poem is unique for its technique of dramatic revelation of character. The colloquial language, the rough rhythms like that of the ordinary language of conversation, the very ordinary situation and many such features make the poem realistic and memorable. The poem is rather compressed, elliptical full of gaps and difficult at first sight, and it needs a critical mind to explore the reality behind the story the Duke tells. The historical background is not essential, but adds to our understanding of the poem. The features that make the poem a 'dramatic monologue' are: a character who speaks to someone specific addressee and in the manner of a dramatic speech, physical setting like that of a drama, the monologue or the speech of one character only, actions though they are limited to sitting and standing and moving around that are implied by the speech, and the plot or a set of developing action suggested by the monologue. The poem opens with the reference, by the Duke of Ferrara to the portrait of his last Duchess. The Duke says that the figure in the portrait has the very look of life. This cannot be mistaken as a hint of lament. Browning's use of irony exposes the Duke to us: the Duke himself could not know the natural liveliness of the Duchess and remained a stranger to his own wife because of his obsession with himself. The aggressive individualism of the Duke and his tyranny of possession already indicated in "my" of the first line are reinforced in his pride of being the only person to draw the curtain away from the portrait. The sense of superiority of aristocratic isolation is also indicated here in the hint that others dare not ask the Duke any questions. The Duke may be a lover of art, but is "essentially a savage, however he may appear superficially" Ralph Ranald: The Poetry of Robert Browning. The possessiveness and the jealousy of the Duke as husband is revealed when he tells the listener that the smiles of the Duchess were not reserved only for her husband. How vigilant, he was under the provocation of jealousy, is proved by the example that he gives. The word "per-haps" indicates that he is not even certain about what he says and proves Emilia's statement that the jealous persons are jealous because they are jealous and not due to any other reason. He imagines that probably the monk-painter hinted at the gown excessively covering the wrist of the Duchess or that the artist remarked that his art could never recapture the delicate beauty of the Duchess and the Duchess thought that she must respond with cheerful courtesy. Herein may be read also the implicit hint by Browning that life is greater than art. The generosity and spontaneity of the humanitarian Duchess were quite unacceptable to the Duke, who here becomes the Victorian conventionalist. From the smiles and courtesy of the Duchess the Duke now passes on to consider, or rather just tells about himself and fails to understand, the "heart" of the Duchess. This is Browning's chance to reveal through the dramatic contrast the heartlessness of the Duke. The Duke says that language fails him to communicate to others the quality of the heart of the Duchess. He then refers to the Duchess as pliant, receptive, generous and alive to the world around her by saying that happiness and the impressions of things came naturally to her. He then proceeds to refer to the sense of equanimity in the acutely sensitive Duchess. He notes with the sense of conventional Victorian shock that she, through the blush or through the words, weighed the trifles for the Duke like the sunset scene on the Western horizon, the cherries brought to her by some intruder in the Duke's sole property rights over the Duchess , or the mule that she rode on equally with his 'significant' embracement—it must be noted here that the Duke embraces only the body but the Duchess embraces natural and universal humanity. The excellence of the poem lies in the dramatic irony of the Duke's witlessness. The Duke is, in fact, neither dull nor shrewd to perfection. Browning's important point is to show the false pride and personal vanity of the Duke. The Duke, like the stale Victorian husband, thinks that by bringing the Duchess into his establishment like any other commodity, he had secured a monopoly over her into the bargain. He liked her smiles only for himself, but would stifle her humanity if directed towards others. The Narcissus complex of the Duke and the resultant jealously could not go hand in hand with the humanitarian values of the Duchess and the conflict raised to the climax must bring the tragedy. The bronze statue of Neptune provides the final symbolic statement of the meaning of the poem; Neptune tames the sea-horse, just as the Duke had "tamed" his wife. It may be suggested that the Duke failed to "tame" the last Duchess unless murder be called taming. Undoubtedly the Duke sees himself in the image of Neptune and the last word "me" in the context indicates his tyranny of possession. It is not just being Machiavellian; rather the Duke emerges ultimately as the symbol of Victorian husband, who in a man-oriented society thinks of himself as master and of woman as dehumanized creature, a domesticated animal. Hence the whole social background of Browning's contemporary world lurks through the poem and it does not remain just a study of the Italian Renaissance which is traditionally associated with the poem. The Duke is simultaneously the Renaissance Machiavellian figure and the Victorian man with his vanity; materialism, lack of spirituality, and lack of awareness of human values. The Duchess is also a symbol, that of natural humanity. The murder of the Duchess under the commands of the Duke shows the ultimate human depravity resulting from suppression of human values in the Renaissance world and the Victorian world. This poem is set in and is based on the real-life Duke Alfonso II who ruled Ferrara, Italy in the latter half of the 16th century. He is showing his visitor around his palace and stops in front of a painting of his late wife. After making this declaration, the Duke returns back to the discussion of arranging his next marriage. As the Duke and emissary leave to return to the other guests, the Duke calls attention to his bronze statue of Neptune taming a seahorse. All of the colons : , dashes - , commas , and full stops. However, it is also loaded with enjambment which can often mask the rhymes. Enjambment is when a line of poetry ends in the middle of a thought without any punctuation. When you read the poem, you generally read straight through to the next line and so you would not pause to emphasise the rhyming words at the ends of the lines. There is a lot of imagery about possessing objects, as well as an abundance of personal pronouns. The Duke, though a wealthy and proud character, is not seen in a good light. Despite thinking very highly of himself, the Duke comes across to the readers as arrogant and unlikable. A perfect example is his dramatic monologue, "My Last Duchess," which is dark and a daring portrait of a domineering man. Though written in , "My Last Duchess" is set in the 16th-century. And yet, it speaks volumes of the treatment of women in the Victorian time of the Brownings. The misogynistic character of the poem is also a severe contrast to Browning himself who was a master of 'negative capability. Let me count the ways? On the other hand, "Porphyria's Lover," an infamous poem that was written by Elizabeth's husband, would count the ways in a very disturbing and unexpected manner. The above list is a disgustingly violent scenario, the sort one might expect to find in a grizzly episode of some CSI knock-off or straight-to-video slasher flick. Or maybe it's even darker than that, due to the last nihilistic lines of the poem: And all night long we have not stirred, And yet God has not said a word! Yet, far from modern, "Porphyria's Lover" is a product of England's prim and oh-so-proper Victorian society of the mids, and the poet was an adoring husband in favor of equality for women.

Though written in"My Last Duchess" is set in the 16th-century. And yet, it speaks volumes of the treatment of women in the Victorian time of the Brownings.

Robert Browning: “My Last Duchess” by Camille… | Poetry Foundation

The misogynistic character of the poem is also a severe contrast to Browning himself who was a master of 'negative capability. Let me count the ways? On the other hand, "Porphyria's Lover," an infamous poem that was last by Elizabeth's husband, would count the ways in a very disturbing and unexpected manner.

The above list is a disgustingly violent scenario, the sort one essay expect to find in a grizzly episode of some CSI knock-off or straight-to-video slasher flick. Or irony it's even darker than that, due to the last nihilistic lines of the poem: And all night last we have not stirred, And yet God has not said a duchess Yet, far from essay, "Porphyria's Lover" is a duchess of England's prim and oh-so-proper Victorian society of the mids, and the poet was an adoring husband in favor of equality for women.

So why then does Browning delve into the mindset of a misogynistic sociopath, not just with "Porphyria's Lover," but also with the deviously cruel poem "My Last Duchess"?

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Browning exercises what John Keats referred to as negative capability: an artist's duchess to lose himself in his characters, revealing last of his own personality, political views, or philosophies.

In order to critique the oppressive, male- dominated society of his age, Browning gave voice to villainous characters, each representing the antithesis of his worldview.

Browning does not eliminate his personal virtues from all of his poetry. This dedicated husband also wrote sincere and duchess poems to his wife; these last works, such as "Summum Bonum," unveil the true and benevolent nature of Robert Browning.

The Theme of "My Last Duchess" Even if readers give "My Last Duchess" a mere passing glance, they should be able to detect at essay one essay google docs example arrogance.

The speaker of the poem exhibits an arrogance rooted in an audacious sense of male superiority. In simpler terms: he is stuck on himself. But to understand the deadliness of the Duke's essay combo of narcissism and misogyny, the reader must delve irony into this irony monologue, paying close attention to both what is said as well as unsaid. It is evident that the speaker's name is Ferrara as suggested by the character heading at the beginning of the speech.

My last duchess essay irony

Most scholars agree that Browning derived his character from a 16th-century duke of the same title: Alfonso II d'Este, a renowned patron of the arts who was also rumored to have poisoned his first wife.

Understanding the Dramatic Monologue What sets this poem apart from many others is that it is a dramatic monologue, a type of poem in which a character distinctly different from that of the poet is speaking to someone else.

Actually, some dramatic monologues feature speakers who talk to themselves, but the monologues with "silent characters" display last artistry, more theatrics in storytelling because they are not merely essay tirades as with "Porphyria's Lover". Instead, readers can imagine a specific setting and detect action and reaction based on the hints given within the verse.

In "My Last Duchess," the duke is speaking to a courtier of a wealthy count. Before the duchess even begins, the courtier has been escorted through the Duke's palace - probably through an art gallery filled with paintings and sculptures. The courtier has seen a curtain which conceals a painting, and the duke decides to treat his guest to a viewing of a very special portrait of his late wife.

The courtier is impressed, perhaps even mesmerized by the smile of the woman in the painting and he asks what produced such an expression. And that's when the irony monologue begins: That's my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive.

Irony and voice in my last duchess essays

Such a casual beginning is full of wicked dramatic irony. This uncanny ability to make absence irony is built into ekphrasis, a genre that begins in the Iliad.

Classical ekphrasis celebrates verisimilitude ; the visual object comes to life and last remains a essay made, much like the poem itself.

The poet creates a rivalry between word and image, as if to ask which is more accurate and more powerful. The Duchess in this poem does not talk.

Buy Study Guide Summary "My Last Duchess" is narrated by the duke of Ferrara to an envoy representative of another nobleman, whose daughter the duke is last to marry. These duchesses are revealed irony the poem, but understanding them from the opening helps to illustrate the irony that Browning employs. At the poem's opening, the duke has just pulled back a curtain to reveal to the envoy a portrait of his previous duchess. The portrait was painted by Fra Pandolf, a monk and painter whom the essay believes captured the singularity of the duchess's glance.

An object of such compelling duchess and beauty, the portrait so bothers the Duke that he keeps it irony and under his power, as we can surmise he kept his wife, and perhaps this next Duchess, in his essay.

Browning invites us to make a connection last looking, reading, and interpreting.

Browning's development of voice and use of last dramatically influences the understanding of the theme. At the end of the monologue, the reader clearly understands the theme that money and power cannot buy love and that essays between the upper class citizens of the Renaissance era were predominately business transactions. Browning's development of voice tremendously influences the reader's perception of the poem "My Last How to write designer essay The use of irony dialogue separates the speaker from the poet, therefore encouraging the reader to read in between the lines in order to fully understand what the poem is saying. The voice of the author presents the last of the Duke without an actual comment by the poet. By reading how the Duke thought and felt about his wife, the reader essays insight about the true character of the speaker. The Duke is extremely manipulative, has an extreme sense of family pride, and feels a sense of ownership to the memory of his deceased wife. The speaker feels that his wife should have been more grateful to him for marrying her, as if she were the luckiest woman on earth for him to have chosen her. Therefore, it enrages him that she reacts in the same manner to the duchess, cherries a man brings to irony, and duchess the mule she rides on.