This is very suspicious behaviour. Neptune, the god, is a reflection of the Duke. During that time, it was common for a young woman to be arranged in a marriage. For people confronted with an increasingly complex and anonymous modern world, this impulse comes naturally: to control would seem to be to conserve and stabilize. The dramatic monologue format allowed Browning to maintain a great distance between himself and his creations: by channeling the voice of a character, Browning could explore evil without actually being evil himself. The Duke believes that his Duchess is a cheat, and that she doesn't try to hide it either. Also at play psychologically is the human ability to rationalize our hang-ups.
The first contradiction to consider is how charming the duke actually is. Yet, he seems quite comfortable discussing it with this listener. All describe Robert Browning's poem, 'My Last Duchess'. His flowery speech confuses and disguises any possible motives; however, the mystery is left unsolved. He then abandoned her for two years before she died on 21 April 1561, at age 17. The desperate need to do this mirrors the efforts of Victorian society to mold the behavior—gsexual and otherwise—gof individuals. There's certainly no explicit evidence of this, but at the same time, it's plausible that a man as arrogant as the duke, especially one so equipped with the power of euphemism, would avoid spelling out his disgrace to a lowly envoy and instead would speak around the issue.
The speech the Duke gives is a very confusing one, because he uses words to suggest that he is innocent. Finally, one can also understand this poem as a commentary on art. In terms of meter, Browning represents the duke's incessant control of story by using a regular meter but also enjambment where the phrases do not end at the close of a line. His dramatic monologues about artists attempt to capture some of this philosophizing because his characters speculate on the purposes of art. Suddenly, our speaker seems somewhat psychotic.
Before the poem even begins, the courtier has been escorted through the Duke's palace - probably through an art gallery filled with paintings and sculptures. Browning reveals that this mentality was widespread during this time. My favour at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule She rode with round the terrace—all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Or blush, at least. By no means can we justify the idea that the duke is willing to transcend class, but at the same time he does allow a transgression of the very hierarchy that had previously led him to have his wife murdered rather than discuss his problems with her. This final stanza suggests that his story of murder is meant to give proactive warning to the woman he is soon to marry, but to give it through a backdoor channel, through the envoy who would pass it along to the count who might then pass it to the girl.
Browning was instrumental in helping readers and writers understand that poetry as an art form could handle subjects both lofty, such as religious splendor and idealized passion, and base, such as murder, hatred, and madness, subjects that had previously only been explored in novels. The speaker is arrogant and patronizing. Although it is not necessary to know the historical background to appreciate the morbid intrigue of the poem, Robert Browning did base this on an actual historical incident. The Duchess probably didn't know that her husband was watching her, while she was taking interest to her lovers. By doing so, he not only reveals information about his former wife, but he sheds light on his own character, including possibly admitting to her murder. The speaker of the poem exhibits an arrogance rooted in an audacious sense of male superiority.
He admitted that she smiled at him pleasantly when he passed by, but it bothered him that everyone received that same smile from her. The representations of the Duchess, which focus on her ever-present smile and easily satisfied nature, come in sharp contrast with the desperate, sputtering language of the Duke as he tries to tell their story on his own terms. The other characters named in the poem — painter Frà Pandolf and sculptor, Claus of Innsbruck — are fictional. He is irritated that she does not seem to see the value in what he gives to her, or that she seems to value the simple pleasures of life as much as she values his expensive gifts to her. Wives were viewed as disposable, and their husbands would often accuse them to do away with them when they desired to marry someone else. The duke then ends his story and asks the envoy to rise and accompany him back to the count, the father of the duke's impending bride and the envoy's employer.
It consists entirely of the words of a single speaker who reveals in his speech his own nature and the dramatic situation in which he finds himself. There was a strong suspicion of poisoning. The Duke explained that his wife was extremely flirtatious and easily impressed. He also seems irritated that she does not seem to understand the importance of his place in life. The duke's life seems to be made of repeated gestures. Directly invoking contemporary issues might seem didactic and moralizing in a way that poems set in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries would not.
The Duke can shape his speech into couplets, but his thoughts strain against that structure and try to break it. While showing this portrait of his last Duchess, the Duke begins to reminisce on their lives together, and, although he chooses his words carefully as he speaks, he ends up telling the visitor more than he realizes. One of those aspects, of course, being the treatment of wives by their husbands. The poem is filled with many mysteries and unsaid things. She did not seem to be any more thankful for this than she was thankful to watch the sun set. Throughout the monologue, the Duke also gives the impression that he is admiring the artwork and appears to have more of a relationship with the painting than his former wife.
In many ways, this is the artist's dilemma, which Browning explores in all of his work. Barrett's father, although not a murderous lord from the 16th-century, he was a controlling patriarch who demanded that his daughters stay faithful to him, that they never move out of the home, not even to marry. This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. As they look at the portrait of the late Duchess, the Duke describes her happy, cheerful and flirtatious nature, which had displeased him. At the poem's opening, the duke has just pulled back a curtain to reveal to the envoy a portrait of his previous duchess.
Although he is not the painter, he is able to portray her through words and stories making him equal to the artist. But to understand the deadliness of the Duke's powerhouse combo of narcissism and misogyny, the reader must delve deeply into this dramatic monologue, paying close attention to both what is said as well as unsaid. In order to critique the oppressive, male-dominated society of his age, Browning gave voice to villainous characters, each representing the antithesis of his worldview. Psychological Portraits Dramatic monologues feature a solitary speaker addressing at least one silent, usually unnamed person, and they provide interesting snapshots of the speakers and their personalities. The presumably the Duke of Ferrara is giving the emissary of the family of his prospective new wife presumably a third or fourth since Browning could have easily written 'second' but did not do so a tour of the artworks in his home.