My Last Duchess Character Analysis

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In a novel or play, a confidant or confidante is a character whose role is to be present when the hero or heroine needs a listener to confide in. However, the confidant offers much more than emotional support for the protagonist. The most important purpose of any confidant is to reveal the true nature of the protagonist to the reader. In “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning this is accomplished by a formal relationship between the protagonist and confidant, which reveals the main character truthfully from an objective point of view. Quite differently, in The Awakening by Kate Chopin the protagonist and confidante have an intimate relationship, which reveals the main character through her innermost thoughts and desires.
In “My Last Duchess” …show more content…

Instead, their intimate relationship allows Mlle. Reisz to reveal Edna’s deepest desires to herself, and in consequence the reader. She helps Edna grow as an individual so the reader can distinguish the deep passion and individualism in Edna’s character which is otherwise oppressed by societal standards. Without Mlle. Reisz, Edna wouldn’t have had the support she needed to discover herself further after leaving Grand Isle, and her true character would have remained vague and incoherent. Mlle. Reisz’s strength also serves to contrast Edna’s eventual failure to fully achieve her autonomy, informing the reader even further of Edna’s character. Though Edna was strong enough to begin a personal movement toward passion, freedom, and independence, her character wasn’t strong enough to complete it.
Browning’s “The Last Duchess” and Chopin’s The Awakening create two completely different relationships between their protagonist and confidant, the former composed of two near strangers and the latter being an intimate friendship. However, both confidants effectively function to reveal the protagonist’s truest character. With the help of the confidant, the reader is able to see past facades, social conditions, and other disruptions in the protagonist’s surroundings to understand the character with clarity and

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