My Last Duchess Language and Structure Analysis

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  • My Last Duchess Analysis
    • Language
      • "Fra Pandolf by design"
        • "Fra Pandolf" may allude to the fact that he knows someone famous, adding to his pride.
        • "Fra" is a title given to an Italian monk which may indicate his connection with Italy
        • Prefixed title "Fra" may also allude to how he is paranoid as this is given to a monk, someone religious
      • "The dropping of the daylight in the West"
        • May illustrate how the Duchess was innocent and liked the small things in life such as the sunset.
        • This may portray how she was one with nature and didn't rank gifts.
      • “As if she ranked my gift of a nine-hundred years old name with anybody’s gift.”
        • Indicates how the duke is proud of his family heritage and whit represents in society.
        • He describes the gift as "nine-hundred years old", therefore adding to it's value and further representing how valuable even his blood lineage is.
      • “(since none puts by the curtain I have drawn for you, but I)”
        • Further represents himself as powerful
        • Now he literally has the power the control who lays eyes on her after the complaining about her somewhat cheating
      • "Notice Neptune, though, taming a sea horse thought a rarity"
        • Neptune was the roman god of the seas perhaps presenting the Duke as not only having political and domestic power, but also power over the divine and natural world.
        • He possesses domestic power over the Duchess as he is seen to be somewhat "taming" her.
        • The "sea horse" may have been figurative of the duchesses qualities as a human such as liveliness and was literally one with nature.
    • Structure
      • “Fra Pandolf chanced to say ‘her mantle laps over my lady’s wrist too much….”
        • The Duke uses direct speech (direct quotes from the Fra) and this may reflect his jealousy as he can quote things from Fra Pandolf exactly
        • The enjambment here may also reflect how the duke lacks control over his own speech, ironically mocking the elements of the poem which present him as powerful
      • “That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall”
        • Instantly from the start of the play, we see Browning employ a strict iambic pentameter perhaps presenting the Dukes power
      • “Fra Pandolf’s hands...and there she stands”
        • The rhyming couples may possibly indicate his desire for power
        • May show his skill in speech, which he later belittles in the poem, presenting him as an accomplished liar.


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