My last Duchess is an admirable work of poetry and dramatic monologue. I find it extremely captivating to read, although emotional. This is because the drama of the poem is so powerful and also the beauty of language is evident all through the text. The different emotions brought out by the poem are also something marvelous.
Emotions such as anger, envy, astonishment, pity and admiration are so clear within the poem. From the choice of words by the Duke, it is evident that the Duke was unhappy with the Duchess innocently flirtatious and friendly nature. This is brought out well when he says that the duchess was ungrateful and unfaithful for the nine hundred year old name (Robert 3). He is jealous since he is not the sole recipient of the Duchess attention.
As much as the Duke keeps on blaming the Duchess of unfaithfulness, he does not provide evidence to solidify that fact. Instead he tries to paint a picture that the Duchess died in suspicious circumstances and continues to justify his position as to why he needs to get a new and assumedly, more worthy Duchess. It come out clearly that the Duke is a controlling and insensitive man and the audience cannot fail to sympathize with the late Duchess. Every reader is amazed by the Dukes selfishness. He seems to be more affectionate with the Duchess painting than the duchess herself, simply because he can spent more time with the painting than she spent with the duchess when she was alive.
I find line-5 quite puzzling in the entire text. Will’t please you sit and look at her? (Robert 5). The Duke politely requests to sit down and examine the painting but politeness is somewhat false and the question is more like a command. It’s quite obvious that the Duke to paint an innocent picture of himself but on the contrary, the guilt is so loud.
The death and the circumstances in which the duchess died are not clear. I think or concluded that the Duke was guilty of this and tries to hide something about the Duchess death from the audience.The painter of the Duchess picture is also not clear.
The initial reading of the text does not capture the tone, mood, character and the emotional aspects of the poem. However, after reading for a second time, I was able to get a deeper insight of the various aspects. For example, the guilt in the Dukes voice did not clearly come out in my initial reading.
Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" March 2004