Robert Browning

Robert Browning- My Last Duchess

          dramatic monologue (narrative)

          Browning is critical of speaker

          one person speaking, like a soliloquy except it’s a lyric poem

          specific dramatic situation

          addresses one/ more people; we know them only through the speaker

          critical of “I” usually

          self-revelation is inadvertent; speaker doesn’t intend to reveal his true self

          differences between author’s view and speakers is not explicit, but it becomes clearer

          moral judgment is up to us

          he’s negotiating for his next duchess

          image: spot of joy (blush)

          what was the last duchess like?

o   childlike, easily pleased by new things, happy/ charming

o   not conceited; not impressed by his nobility, importance

o   he dislikes everything about her, she smiles too much

o   he sees her as promiscuous, we see her as embarrassed

          why does he point out that he draws the curtain for the negotiator?

o   exerting control, now she’s a piece of at

o   he controls where and what she look at; only good woman is a dead woman

o   she’s entirely passive; he’s the owner

o   her crime is that she looked, her job was to be looked at

          what kind of person is the duke?

o   jealous, controlling, shallow, proud, possessive

o   happier with painting than the real thing

o   she was a prize like his other artifacts; to reflects his prestige, position, power

o   he wants to be distinguished by her

          he claims he didn’t have the verbal ability to explain to her how she should be behaving

yet his story is very articulate and verbose


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