‘My Last Duchess’
“The poems show love to be a complex and powerful emotion.” Discuss the ways in which the poets have presented the different aspects of love in the poems you have studied.
Loosely based in the paternalistic patriarchal society that was the Renaissance period, the poet Robert Browning adopts the persona of the Duke Ferrara, in ‘My Last Duchess’. Written in rhyming couplets and iambic pentameter, the enjambment helps create a sense of continuity and naturalism that help dilute the horrifying scenes that are described throughout the monologue. The bitter and somewhat wistful conversational tone allow the reader to familiarise ourselves with this conceited persona in addition to the drawn out and overcomplicated sentences with…show more content… In Lines 43-45, a rhetorical question objectifies the Duchess’ smiles and deems them worthless because she smiles at everything and anything. The “spot of joy” seemingly informs the Duke on the Duchess’ secret agenda. The derogative term “spot” has connotations of stains, spoils and blemishing; an emblem of her dirtied nature. With that being said, the obdurate Duke uses that information to create a euphemism – "too soon made glad," which suggests that she is unfaithful to him- even if the theory is just a figment of his delusional…show more content… The particular word choice of “favour” connotes an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual, a clear mockery of the Duke’s colossal egotism. This idea is enhanced by how the Duke refuses to stoop to her level by not asking her about her suspected affairs without any tangible evidence. His narcissism unsurprisingly leads him to place himself on a self-appointed pedestal, making it that much harder to “stoop” to confront the Duchess. By using a rhetorical question, “Who’d stoop to blame This sort of trifling?” the Duke pressures the reader into agreeing that basic communication shouldn’t be conducted because that would be “stooping”. Furthermore, in lines 42-43, Browning uses assonance to reiterate the stoic belief of how speaking to the Duchess would be lowering himself to her