My Last Duchess and Lady Macbeth Essay

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My Last Duchess - YELLOW Macbeth - GREEN ‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning is a poem which deals with the imaginary character of the Duke of Ferrara. In essence, the poem is a psychological portrayal of the Duke presented to the reader as if he or she is simply listening in on a conversation. As the poem unfolds, the reader becomes aware that the Duke is talking to an envoy from his fiancée’s family in order to make final arrangements for his new marriage. Thus, the nature of the discussion seems rather strange as the Duke is standing in front of a portrait of his former wife, recounting memories of his last marriage. The fact that the reader is able to get a strong sense of what the Duke is like, is testament to Browning’s skilful use of the dramatic monologue form, coupled with effective word choice and imagery. I found the use of the dramatic monologue particularly effective in creating a convincing portrayal of the character of the duke as it allowed me to feel that I could judge a character with no interference from the writer. Of course, the fact that I felt this way is indicative of Browning’s successful use of the form as nonetheless, the character of the Duke is his creation. Furthermore, while Browning uses the highly regular form of iambic pentameter with lines arranged into rhyming couplets, he successfully employs the technique of enjambment to allow the poem to adopt a speech like rhythm. This is effective as it makes the conversation seem more realistic, portraying the character in a more convincing and acceptable way. The title: ‘My Last Duchess’ and first line of the poem give an immediate impression of what the Duke is like. The use of the possessive ‘my’ is the first clear indication of the Duke’s possessive and controlling nature as he refers to his former wife as nothing more than a possession. This aspect of his nature is further
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