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Robert Browning

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My Last Duchess, by Robert Browning, is an example of a dramatic monologue. A dramatic monologue is a kind of narrative poem in which one character speaks to one or more listeners whose replies are not given in the poem. The Duke is speaking to an envoy about his fisrt wife who is apparently dead. From what he is telling him, one can conclude that he is arrogant, domineering, and very insecure about his relationship.

The Duke of Ferrara was a very arrogant man. He did not seem to care about the happiness of his wife, only his own. He did not like the fact that she found happiness in other places beside himself, as if he should be the only life in her life. He could not understand how she could rank his nine thousand year old name with more simpler things such as her white mule that she rode on the terrace, an act of kindness from an "officious fool" and the "drooping of the daylight in the west." His wife, no doubt, had no idea he felt that way but he could not discuss it with her, blaming it on the fact that he had no skill in speech. He let the problem persist until he no longer could stand it and finally "gave commands" that in one way or another caused her death.

Another problem that he had was that he was too domineering. This is evident in the fact that he went to the extreme and killed his wife just because she did not conform to his image of a perfect wife. He wanted things to be his way regardless of how she felt. He now talks about his last duchess as if she were simply a thing painted in a picture to be admired. Other evidence that supports the idea of him being domineering is shown when he told his envoy that no one but him could touch the curtain that covered the picture. It is almost as if he has marked his territory and if anyone crosses the line they would be "dealt with" accordingly. Lastly, on the way down to meet his company he proudly points out his bronze sculpture of Neptune taming a sea horse. This is probably the embodiment of his whole mentality. He wanted to tame his wives into perfect women.

Insecurity is something that we all feel at one point or another in our relationships. The



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