My Last Duchess

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Davaris Brown Professor Johnson English 1102 18 April 2012 Explication of “My Last Duchess” This narrative poem is about a Duke who is looking at a picture of his dead Duchess. He talks about the portrait on the wall of her, which he admires. The Duke thinks about how the Duchess compares everything to him. The death of the Duchess shows another side of the Duke which started to show while he’s talking and is unrevealed at the end. The Duke thinks he is bigger than God and also a jealous and possessive man. The poem starts off as the poet looking at a portrait of his last Duchess. He looks at the beauty of her as if she is still alive. The Duke says, “I call. That piece a wonder, now” (Mitchell 74). When he says “piece of wonder”, he shows that he appreciates the objects in art rather than the subject itself. Instead of calling the portrait “it” the Duke calls it “she” and “her” as if the painting is alive. Browning has a conflict between” the work of man and creativity the divine in man” (Mitchell 74).He believes his last Duchess was so perfect that he says his next bride will be “my object”. This expression means that nobody will compare to his last wife. The Duke gets confused about what God has made and created and puts it as the work of man, in which he shows that he is his own god. The Duke thinks about how the Duchess loved everybody and everything. “She enjoyed the diversity of the divine, while the Duke enjoyed artificial and aesthetic things” (Mitchell 74). “The Duchess is pleased with a bough of cherries just as much as she was to her Husband” (Mitchell 75). The way that she felt made the Duke feel insulted that a man of his social status was compared to slaves and sunsets. The Duke is very jealous that his social status and he are on the same level as a white mule to his Duchess. The things that the Duchess loves anger the Duke because he thinks
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