Duchess And His Injustice In Robert Browning's My Last Duchess

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There is a quote by C.G. Jung that reads, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”. I want to use this as the scope to understand the speaker in Robert Browning’s poem My Last Duchess. In the psychologically charged poem, the Duke (the speaker of the poem) uses the dramatic monologue to convey his feelings of his late duchess, as well as why he had her killed. The duke puts immense value on his imaginary hypotheticals, in an attempt to rationalize his order to have his wife smiles “stopped all together” (line 46). He uses these fictional scenarios to portray his late duchess as promiscuous, but they are clearly fabrications likely based in his own insecurity and wrongfully based suspicion. But …show more content…
That begs the reader to question one thing; why does he not communicate his feelings to his duchess? He obviously is not afraid to talk with a stranger on this issue, so why not his spouse? The answer is that the Duke was jealous and afraid. But he was not afraid of her femininity, nor was he afraid of “stooping” down to talk to his eternally fated spouse (line 43). No, unbeknownst to him, the Duke had animosity for the Duchess’ modesty nature and that made him aware of his vanity.
It is clear that we are dealing with a person with an unreliable point of view, as his basis for all of the things he finds wrong with the duchess is hypothetical or superficial. As he shows the emissary the portrait of his late duchess he brings specific attention to “The depth and passion of its earnest glance” (line 8). That is an interesting way to describe the look that she had, it has its way of implying that there is something carnal, almost lustful in her
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Granted, the fact that these are all hypotheticals created in his own mind and he himself contradicts himself as he talks has already been discussed, one interesting aspect to consider is how Browning writes the speech of the speaker, in iambic pentameter. This creates a much more lyrically pleasing poem, as it using clever rhyme and meter to accentuate the intelligence and speaking skills we perceive the Duke to have. The words be used by Browning, and ultimately the Duke are very meticulously chosen, as he opts to phrase things in a particular fashion to paint his duchess as a harlot. The one advantage the reader has instead of the emissary in this case is that we can see the form of the poem. The most apparent thing that is prevalent in the entire poem is that, all of the lines, except the last line are enjambment. This shows an interesting amount of lack of awareness from the Duke (the likely attempt of Browning). When you couple this analysis with the fact that the Duke is validating his claims with hypotheticals, you begin to understand that the Duke lacks control. Not only did he lack control of his late wife, but he lacks control of his own mind and ego. He is not aware of irrational he has, like he is not aware of the actual reason he had his wife killed: jealous of her modesty and

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