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My Last Duchess By Robert Browning

A Detailed Analysis Of My Last Duchess By Robert Browning
by

Milan Rajpara

on 13 January 2013

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Transcript of My Last Duchess By Robert Browning

My Last Duchess By Robert Browning- Analysis My Last Duchess is a poem written by Robert Browning which is about a duke who is describing a portrait of his last duchess.

I have prepared a detailed step by step analysis explaining what this poem is about.This will give you a clear understanding of what this poem is all about. Background Information That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,

Looking as if she were alive. I call

That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf’s hands

Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Analysis 1- Lines 1- 4 Sir, ’twas all one! My favour at her breast,

The dropping of the daylight in the West,

The bough of cherries some officious fool

Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule Analysis 7- Lines 25-28 Suggests that speaker is duke and the duchess is dead. Realistic "Fra Pandolf" is painter of the portrait, Who worked very hard to get the portrait done. "There she stands." - suggests that it is a whole body portrait not only face. Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said

“Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read

Strangers like you that pictured countenance,

The depth and passion of its earnest glance, Analysis 2- Lines 5-8 Asks guests to sit and examine the painting- Almost like a command. Detail in work has extreme depth and passion. So much detail in the facial expressions. But to myself they turned (since none puts by

The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)

And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,

How such a glance came there; so, not the first Analysis 3 - Line 9-12 Painting hidden behind curtain It looked as though the listener would ask... if they dared, how such detail was made in the face. Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ’twas not

Her husband’s presence only, called that spot

Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek: perhaps

Fra Pandolf chanced to say “Her mantle laps

Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or “Paint Analysis 4 - Lines 13- 17 It was not only her husband (duke) that made the duchess' "spot of joy" appear.Spot of joy meaning either a blush or a dimple. The blush may've been called by Fra Panolf saying "her mantle laps over her wrist's too much" meaning her blanket is covering her wrist too much stating that he wants to see more of her bare body Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or “Paint

Must never hope to reproduce the faint

Half-flush that dies along her throat”: such stuff

Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough

For calling up that spot of joy. She had Analysis 5- Lines 17- 21 Suggesting other compliments that Fra Pandolf might've said: Paint shouldn't even think about trying to re-make the half- flush along her throat. However the duchess only considered this to be courtesy and respect which caused her to blush For calling up that spot of joy. She had

A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad,

Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er

She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Analysis 6- Lines 21-24 Becomes happy and satisfied too easily Due to that impressed very easily, by anyone and everyone- could not save blushes only for her husband (disloyal) Favour-gift. Given to her by her husband. Dropping of the daylight meaning the sunset. A bunch of cherries given to her by worker who are not necessary - probably male The duchess' white mule looks like a mix of donkey and a horse She rode with round the terrace—all and each

Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Analysis 8- Lines 29-30 The white mule she rode with round the terrace All and each- the sunset, cherries and her white mule all get the same appreciation Or blush, at least. She thanked men,—good! but thanked
Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill Analysis 9- Lines 31-35 "Spot of joy" would appear if any of them occured It's good that she thanks men, but the way is not correct. Duke's gift to her being a surname lasting for 900 years- is that equal to a sunset ? Who would bother to argue with her? no one Analysis 10 - Lines 35-37 This sort of trifling? Even had you skill

In speech—(which I have not)—to make your will

Quite clear to such an one, and say, “Just this Even if i were skilled in speech to be able to say Quite clear to such an one, and say, “Just this

Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,

Or there exceed the mark”—and if she let

Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set

Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,

—E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose

Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, Analysis 11 - Lines 37- 43 If i could say " " I dont even try because if i did say it she would make excuses Then that would mean i argue and stoop to her level... i dont stoop Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,

Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without

Much the same smile? This grew; I gave
commands;

Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands Analysis 12- Lines 43-46 But she did smile at me no doubt But who passed without the same simle? no one, everyone got the same smile that the duchess gave to the duke I started giving her commands Then the smiles stopped altogether- suggesting she might've died (or been killed by duke) Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands

As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet

The company below, then. I repeat, Analysis 13- Lines 46-48 full body painting "Lets go" The Count your master’s known munificence

Is ample warrant that no just pretence

Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;

Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed

At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go Anylasis 14 -Lines 49-53 We find out that the count is the master of the listener Count is famous for generousity He want's the count's daughter not necessarily the money Just the count's generousity is enough security that the dowry will not be disallowed At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go

Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,

Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,

Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me! Analysis 15- Lines 53-56 We'll go down now... As walking out points at other art peices Artist of neptune's sculpture- made out of bronze. Robert Browning was born on 7th many in 1812 in Camberwell.
Robert Browning learnt to become a writer at
University College London.
Robert Browning wrote many poems including A Wall,After and of course My Last Duchess.
As well as writing poems he also wrote books including The Pied Piper Of Hamelin
Unfortunately he met his death on 12 December
1889 in Venice Information about Robert Browning A duke is describing a portrait of his wife the duchess to one of the count's servants.The portrait was specially painted by an artist called "Fra Pandolf" who worked very hard to get the portrait so detailed. The duke wonders how the artist got the duchess' blush right, then wonders whether Fra Pandolf made her blush when he painted her.
The duke remembers how the duchess was easily impressed. Examples being that she appreciated a gift given by the duke in the same way as a sunset, her white mule or being given cherries. It was not the cherries that annoyed the duke but the fool who brought them to her.The duke likes the fact that his wife thanked other men but the way she did was not appropriate.How is the duke's gift of the family name ranked the same as that. The duke then says that there was no point in arguing with her and that she would only make excuses. But soon he eventually started giving command which made the smiles stop altogether. The duke tries to fix a relationship with the count's daughter, knowing that almost any dowry will not be disallowed. He then heads of to go down to meet the other guests where he starts to show the servant a bronze statue of Neptune taming a seahorse. This could symbolize the thought that the duke liked controlling things around him and that casted in bronze means there is no way out for the duchess. Summary- So what is this poem about? Any Questions?
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