My Last Duchess

1186 Words5 Pages
To what extent is “My last Duchess” a study of human flaws, discuss. How do we react to the Duke as a person? Examine his character, with reference to his language, his characterisation of the duchess and his pretentions. “My last duchess” by Robert Browning is undeniably a study of human flaws. Human flaws are weaknesses in personality which result in outcomes that lead to disreputable actions. Through the dramatic irony of the monologue, the reader is able to gain an understanding of the social attitudes and patriarchal values in the Victorian Era which the human flaws in the monologue are based on. The study of “My Last Duchess” offers a significant understanding of the male ego and a male’s desire to be in control in a relationship. The factors determining a male’s desire to be in control are evident through Browning’s portrayal of the Duke through his need to retain his pride, extreme jealousy and his need to objectify women in order to satisfy the male ego. Browning contrasts the Duke’s representation of the duchess with the factual representation emphasising the Duke’s manic state and causing the audience to strongly oppose the duke as a person. Men feel the need to retain their pride in relationships which reflects the social attitudes and patriarchal values of the Victorian Era. The Victorian Era was a time of a changing social attitudes and people felt insecure and questioned their dominance with an increased male ego. This is evident in Browning’s portrayal of the Duke in “My Last Duchess”. Browning contrasts the happiness of the duchess with by providing imagery of nature, “Bough of cherries” and “orchard” with the dark, manic mind of the duke. The increase use of ellipsis creates suspense and show that the Duke’s fragment of mind is manifested. The repeated use of the word stoop implies the Duke is unyielding and will not compromise his position
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