Modern Australia And My Last Duchess

1686 Words7 Pages
Conflict arises from the moral, ethical and ideological differences within our world and have constructive and destructive consequences for the individual as well as society. Entrenched power structures and hierarchies within our society come into conflict with individual values as explored in The Bank which focuses on the effect of growing capitalism on modern Australia, and My Last Duchess which is concerned with women within a patriarchal society as well as the role men are expected to fulfil in such a society. Ideological differences within a society can also create conflict between individuals and groups however while The Bank examines the destructive effects on society through Simon as a character, The lady’s not for turning, is a representation…show more content…
During the Victorian Era, women were expected to be demure, asexual and obedient and society confined their roles to mothers and wives. The subject of the dramatic monologue, however on several occasions appears to defy these conventions and establishes herself to a certain extent as an independent woman from which there occurs conflict as the Duke resents this strength of nature and instead desires to control her. The Victorian ideal that women were property is embodied in the quote, ‘twas not/Her husband’s presence only, called that spot’ where the Duke suggests that he should have sole ownership and control in her life, and he would be the only man who was of any importance to her. This concept of ownership and property is reinforced throughout the dramatic monologue where the first line, ‘That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall’ which illustrates a possessive nature borne out of his supposed masculine superiority. The Duke views the Duchess as an object, more valuable and pleasing to him when inanimate than alive, the adjective ‘last’ also creates the impression that the Duke has had many wives and they were all similarly disposed of, treated like throwaway items rather than human beings. Again the motif of women being mere objects of beauty, who are controlled by their husbands and fathers, is repeated in the line, ‘Notice Neptune, though,/Taming a sea horse’ which emphasizes the power imbalance that exists in the marital relationship as a result of the patriarchal society of the Victorian Era which devalued women and expected them to be subservient to males. The tragic end of the Duchess is caused by her refusal to conform to those expectations, represented through her husband. Browning, through using a very clearly egotistical and arrogant character in
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