My Last Duchess by Robert Browning free essay sample
Analyzes character of arrogant & sadistic Duke & his relationship with Duchess in dramatic monologue.
BROWNING?S MY LAST DUCHESS
Recognized by scholars as one of the great dramatic monologues in all literature, Browning’s My Last Duchess is both a marvel of condensed emotion and a penetrating insight into the nature of self-absorption and jealousy. The narrative, ostensibly a description of a portrait, is actually a devastating portrait of the one describing it. Browning uses ambiguity, shifts in mood and symbolism to give the reader a glimpse at a chilling personality. Above all other elements of the poem, the characterization stands out as a testimony to Browning’s formidable poetic capacities. Through the character of the Duke, Browning explores the nature of good and evil, of innocence abused. The poem is a study in cold, systematic torture of a warm human soul by an icy-hearted tyrant (Phelps 172).