The Duke Of Ferrara In 'My Last Duchess'

762 Words4 Pages
The Duke of Ferrara is the main character of the poem ‘My Last Duchess’. He is telling about his last wife to a Count’s messenger from another country. The Duke was planning to marry the Count’s daughter of that country. The poem starts with the Duke pointing towards a painting of the Last Duchess made by Fra Pandolf. Although the speaker, the Duke of Ferrara, is speaking of this servant in a negative manner, he wishes to boss around his wife. He wishes to have total control. In this famous poem, Browning reveals the psyche of a man, invincible and arrogant, who is speaking about his deceased wife in front of a silent audience. Unintentionally the duke exposes his own vices while pointing out the follies of his former spouse. The Duke reveals…show more content…
Although he is on his best behaviour, the Duke of Ferrara demonstrates many sociopathic tendencies as he recalls the time he shared with his now dead Duchess. Even in death the Duke wishes to hide her away behind the curtain where no other man could admire or see her beauty without the permission of the Duke. The Duke then resumes an earlier conversation regarding wedding arrangements, and points out other work of art, a bronze statue of Neptune taming a sea-horse by Claus of Innsbruck, thus making his late wife nothing but just another piece of art. The arrogance of the duke was best exhibited by subtle comments that he made throughout his speech. He scoffed at the idea that his former duchess could rank "My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name …. With anybody 's gift" (lines 33-34). Here, the duke made it sound as if he was being generous when he agreed to marry his wife. He felt that she should have recognized more clearly what a wonderful gift he had given her. Just a moment later, he reasserts his superiority by stating that "I choose …… Never to stoop" (lines 42-43). The duke feels that he is too important to even be bothered with small annoyances. He will not stoop to the lowness of asking his wife to cease a behavior that is obviously upsetting him. Instead, he orders someone else to kill her because even the act of killing her is beneath…show more content…
In his monologue describing a painting of his former wife, the duke introduces us to his dark and sinister qualities. By giving us the Duke of Ferrara as an example, Robert Browning subtly condemns the nobility for their poor
Open Document