Friday 7 July 2017

Summary Of My Last Duchess Poem

Under the title Poem  "My last duchess", Ferrara is called, and the only speaker of the poem is the Duke of Ferrara, a character based partly on Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara (Italy) in the sixteenth century. The wife of Alfonso, a young girl, died in 1561, and Alfonso used an agent to negotiate a second marriage with the niece of the Count of Tyrol.
Summary And Anallysis Of Poem My Last Duchess by Robert Browning
Summary And Anallysis Of Poem My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

In the poem of Robert Browning, the Duke of Ferrara speaks to an agent representing the Count. The duke begins by referring to poem "my last duchess ," his first wife, as he opens a curtain to show a portrait hanging from the wall. She looks "alive," and the duke attributes it to the skill of the painter Frà Pandolf. After saying that he alone opened the curtain, the Duke quickly began a catalog of complaints about the way his wife acted.

The cheerful rolling on his cheek which can be seen in the portrait was a result, says the Duke, of his reaction to the compliments of Frà Pandolf about his beauty. The duke blames his late wife for having smiled at Frà Pandolf, for being courteous with everyone she met, to enjoy life too. She did not appreciate his name, going back nine hundred years, and she did not see him as superior to others. The duke does not condense to correct his attitude. She should have known better, he said, and "I choose / Never to stop."

The final characterization which the duke gives of his old duchess reveals his obsessive possessiveness and his jealousy. He admits she smiled when she saw him, but complains she gave the same smile to someone else she saw. His next statement reveals that he had him killed: "I gave orders; / Then all the smiles stopped together." It does not develop further. 

There is his portrait, he says, which seems alive. The Duke tells the agent that they will then go down to meet the others. Then, in not five lines, the Duke refers directly to the proposed marriage arrangement. In the same soft tones he used throughout, he suggests that because the account is so rich, there should be no question of providing a "ample" dowry for his daughter to bring to marriage. The Duke adds, however, that he is "his just daughter of himself" whom he wants.

As the duke and the count's agent begin with the stairs, the duke highlights a bronze statue of Neptune that tames a sea horse and notes that this was done especially for him by Claus of Innsbruck. Although this seems to be a change of subject, he summarizes the duke's clear message to the agent. In addition to the wealth she must bring, the second woman, like the hippocampus, must be "tamed" to her role as Duchess. The clear implication is that if she does not meet her requirements, she might end up as the last duchess, "alive" only in a portrait.


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