“My Last Duchess” Characters and Plot Analysis

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“My last Duchess” is one of the famous work form the England poet Robert Browning, the poem was published in 1842 and it present a real picture in the Victorian era which is a very representative work in ironies dramatic monologue. The poem sued a monologue of a Duke to telling people about the death with his last duchess. First, his talks about his duchess’s personality, He hate her gentle and polite behavior. Second, he is jealous that she is easily pleasing by strangers. Finally, through the duke monologue we can see his jealousy and control over DUCHESS, and his greed for power and interests. The symbolism that appears in this poem represents a different irony.

"The curtain" is the symbolism that refer to the power of the duke. It covers the portrait of the duchess, and the duke has the power to open and cover. This satirizes the duchess was the foil of the duke, and her portrait became his after death. One of the collectibles. And he introduced his collection to a servant to show his power and wealth.

Duke used “a nine-hundred-years-old name” to emphasize his family and his personal power and prestige. Even so, he still jealous of his wife’s good manners and the strange man’s dedication to her. Because he has no ability to monopolize his wife, and the wife did not show the reaction of receiving the gift because of his fame. Because her smile made him hate, in the monologue, he hinted that he killed his wife and let the smile stopped. The purpose of his statement was to make the servant who listened to him feel his majesty. Therefore, his greed for power is not only for his wife and servants, but even for others.

When he looked at his wife's portrait, he praised the painting for the first time. For him, the value of the artwork was higher than that of his wife. When the artist painted the portrait, he praised his wife as beautiful as art. For the duke, these were just flattering words. The wife’s smile and shame became evidence of his wife’s derailment. He did not cherish his wife’s good character. In the end, he used the collectible "Taming a sea-horse" to remind others that he is a person with fame and wealth, but also satirizes that duchess are obeyed by him. This also satirizes this unequal marriage between men and women, which is facilitated by the status of money, and also satirizes duchess as one of the accessories of duke.

To sum up, duke is like a mentally ill person. He uses the tone of the collectibles to talk about his dead wife. Others can't think of him as the murderer who killed his wife. However, the biggest irony in poetry is marriage. THE LAST DUCHESS in the title, "LAST" does not represent the final duchess, but represents his last wife, but he seems to deal with duchess very quickly and find the next lady to marry him to become the next duchess. It is possible that there have been many Duchess before she died. It seems that the author wants to satirize marriage and feminism in the Victorian era. Women in the early Victorian era did not receive any protection, and women had to rely on Husbands come to maintain their social status. In marriage, the husband’s place is the highest. They can still enjoy a debauched life after marriage, and women can only survive for the family and their loyalty to the husband. In this double standard society, finally, it has created a feminist movement and a transformation in literature.

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“My last Duchess” Characters and Plot Analysis. (2021, Feb 26). Retrieved July 25, 2024 , from

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