Essay on the Characterization of the Duke Within Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess"

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  574 Words
Date:  2022-12-16


Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess", a classic poem in English literature, is a significant one. It is the story of an Italian aristocrat, the Duke of Ferrara. He is talking to his deceased wife, Duchess, while he waits for the envoy from a foreign count. The poem is written as a dramatic monologue, in which the Duke unveils his true nature and character. The Duke is shown as controlling, possessive, arrogant, and disrespectful of his wife's autonomy.

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Unveiling the Duke's Character

Through the words and actions of the Duke, the poem reveals his character to the reader. The Duke is depicted as a powerful and proud aristocrat who is used to getting his way. He is proud of his social status and wants to be respected by all he meets. He is also extremely protective of his wife and insists that she behaves in a particular way. His statement that he "gave orders/Then all smiles ceased together" further demonstrates his possessiveness.

The Duke's Attitude Towards the Envoy

The Duke’s character is also revealed through his attitude towards the envoy. He is dismissive and contemptuous of him, speaking in grandiose language and showing off his wealth and power. He also attempts to intimidate the envoy by showing him a portrait of his late wife and boasting about his authority and control over her, which further highlights his arrogance and possessiveness.

The Objectification of the Duchess

His attitude towards his wife reveals the Duke's character. He refers to her as "my last Duchess" and speaks of her like an object. This indicates that he saw her as an object he controlled and owned, and not as a person who had her own identity and autonomy. He stated that he "gave orders/ then all smiles stopped together" to show his arrogance and possessiveness. This shows that he wouldn't tolerate her admiration of anyone else.


Robert Browning's poem "My Last Duchess" is powerful and reveals the character the Duke of Ferrara. He is depicted as a powerful and proud aristocrat who expects to be respected by all he meets. He also views his wife as an object and not as a person. Through his actions and words throughout the poem, the Duke's character is clearly revealed. This makes it an excellent exploration of his nature and character.

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Essay on the Characterization of the Duke Within Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess". (2022, Dec 16). Retrieved from

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