My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

My Last Duchess by Robert Browning
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My Last Duchess by Robert Browning is a dramatic monologue about the Duke of Ferrara’s late wife. The Duke is negotiating with Countess for a marriage between her daughter and himself. He does this by showing her a portrait of his late wife, which leads to him revealing his true character. The poem provides a glimpse into the psyche of a dangerous and narcissistic man.

The Dark Psychology of Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess”

My Last Duchess by Robert Browning is a poem that explores the dangerous psychological undercurrents of power and control in a relationship. The speaker, who is never named, is a Duke who is negotiating the marriage of his daughter to a Count. In the course of the negotiation, he reveals himself to be a man who is obsessed with power and control. He is a man who is willing to use any means necessary to keep those things.

The poem is told from the point of view of the Duke, and it is clear that he is a very self-centered man. He speaks about his late wife in a way that shows how little he valued her as a person. She was simply a possession and one that he was not happy with. He describes how she “smiled” and how she “hung on the Duke’s heartstrings,” but there is no indication that he cared for her.

The Duke’s obsession with power and control is further evident in the way he speaks about his daughter. He says that he will not allow her to marry the Count unless the Count agrees to give him complete control over the marriage. He even goes so far as to say that he will kill the Count if he does not agree to his demands.

The Duke’s dark psychology is on full display in this poem. He is a man who is consumed by his power and control. He is willing to use any means necessary to keep those things. This poem is a warning about the dangers of such obsessions.

The Tragic Story Behind Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess”

It is widely believed that Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess” is based on the true story of Lucrezia de Medici, who was married to Alfonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, in 1558. Lucrezia was a member of the powerful Medici family of Florence, and her husband was a member of the equally powerful d’Este family of Ferrara. The marriage was arranged for political reasons, and it seems that neither Alfonso nor Lucrezia were particularly happy with the arrangement.

There are many parallels between the story of Lucrezia and the poem “My Last Duchess.” For example, both women were married to powerful men who wanted to control them. In the poem, the Duke is obsessed with controlling his Duchess, and he ultimately has her killed when she does not conform to his expectations. In real life, Alfonso was also extremely possessive of Lucrezia and was reportedly very jealous of her relationships with other members of her family.

The story of Lucrezia de’ Medici is a tragic one, and it is not difficult to see why Browning would be interested in telling it. In the poem, the Duke comes across as a callous and selfish man who cares only for himself. He is uninterested in anything except for his pleasure and satisfaction. The story of Lucrezia, on the other hand, is one of a woman who was trapped in a loveless and unhappy marriage. She was forced to live in a foreign city with a man she did not love, and she was constantly watched and controlled by her husband. In the end, she was murdered by the very man who claimed to love her.

Why Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess” Remains Relevant Today

Many people consider Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess” to be a classic example of a dramatic monologue. In this form of a poem, the speaker is usually someone who is not the poet himself, and the poem often takes the form of a conversation between the speaker and another character. The dramatic monologue allows the poet to explore the inner thoughts and feelings of the speaker, and to reveal information about the speaker’s character in a way that would not be possible in any other form of a poem.

The speaker in “My Last Duchess” is the Duke of Ferrara, who is discussing his late wife with an envoy from the Count of Tyrol. The Duke is a very proud and arrogant man, and he is not afraid to show it. He is also very manipulative, and he uses his words to try to control the conversation and the way that the envoy perceives him.

The Duke’s attitude towards his late wife is shocking to modern readers. He seems to have no respect for her at all, and he is very open about the fact that he had her killed. He describes her as being “too soon made glad,” and he says that she “smiled too much.” He believes that a woman should be submissive and obedient and that she should not show any emotion or personality of her own.

The Duke’s views on women would have been very common in the Victorian era when the poem was written. Women were not seen as equal to men, and they were expected to behave in a certain way. They were not allowed to vote, and they did not have many rights. The Duke’s attitude towards his wife would have been seen as completely normal at the time.


The Duke’s monologue in “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning is a perfect example of how power and control can be used for evil purposes. The Duke uses his position of power to manipulate others and get what he wants, without caring about the consequences. He is a cruel and selfish man who is only concerned with himself. The poem is a warning about the dangers of giving too much power to one person. It is important to be careful about who we trust in our lives because they could easily abuse their power and hurt us.