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A dramatic monologue by Robert Browning

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    A dramatic monologue is defined as a poem in which a single character is speaking to a person or persons- usually about an important topic. The purpose of most dramatic monologues is to provide the reader with an overall or intimate view of the character s personality. A great poet can use punctuation and rhythm to make the poem appear as if it were an actual conversation.

    Robert Browning, known as the father of the dramatic monologue, does this in his poem, My Last Duchess.The Duke of Ferrara, the speaker in My Last Duchess, is portrayed as a jealous, arrogant man who is very controlling over his wife. The Duke of Ferrara was made jealous by everything the duchess did, no matter how unimportant it was. He was especially jealous of Fra Pandolf, the man who painted the duchess in the poem.

    A woman should be pleased only by her husband, as was not the case with the duchess and Fra Pandolf. She was too easily impressed by the painter (line 23). Fra Pandolf was not the only man that made the duke jealous.Everyone who passed the duchess received much the same smile as the duke (line 44).

    The duke expected to be the only man to receive a smile from his wife. Another aspect of the duke s character addressed in the poem is his condescending attitude. Two times in the poem the duke needlessly told the names of the artists who created the masterpieces that he owned (lines 3 & 56). He felt superiority over the emissary he was speaking to by dropping these names.

    The duke addressed the emissary as a never read stranger (line 6).Not only was it patronizing for the duke to call him a stranger, but he called him unintelligent too. The third character trait of the duke is his controlling behavior. In lines nine and ten he told the emissary that no one puts by the curtain that he had drawn for him but the duke himself.

    He felt the need to control who ever looked at the painting of the duchess. The main evidence of his dominating behavior is in line 46. The line reads, then all smiles stopped together. The line is ambiguous, but the most likely interpretation is that the duke had his wife killed.

    The poem can be interpreted in several different ways, but in all cases the duke is a very controlling man. Although My Last Duchess was set centuries in the past, lessons can be learned from it and used in today s society. No single moral lies beneath the poem but if one had to be found, it would be the golden rule. Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.

    One would surely agree that the duke gained nothing by being the way he was. Nothing but kindness gets a person ahead, no matter what society that person is from.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

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    What is a dramatic monologue and how does Robert Browning use it in his poem My last?
    “My Last Duchess” is a dramatic monologue. It is a monologue in the sense that it consists of words spoken by one person. It is dramatic in the sense that another person is present, listening to the speaker's words, which are shared with a wider audience, the poem's readers.
    What is dramatic monologue by Robert Browning?
    The dramatic monologue as launched in English literature during the Victorian period by Robert Browning, is a purposeful poetic means for a specified pragmatic end. Although it is dramatic, but it is not envisioned for the theatre. It is an unnatural conversation that is unbalanced toward the speaker's intentions.
    What is dramatic monologue example?
    A poem in which an imagined speaker addresses a silent listener, usually not the reader. Examples include Robert Browning's “My Last Duchess,” T.S. Eliot's “The Love Song of J.
    What is the famous monologue of Robert Browning?
    While My Last Duchess is the most famous of his monologues, the form dominated his writing career. The Ring and the Book, Fra Lippo Lippi, Caliban upon Setebos, Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister and Porphyria's Lover, as well as the other poems in Men and Women are just a handful of Browning's monologues.

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