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Word Count: 1,221
DOMINATION OF THE DUCHESS Robert Brownings poem My last Duchess is spoken from the perspective of the Duke and conveys the Dukes personality through the literary form of a dramatic monologue It involves a fictional account of the Duke addressing an envoy from the Count to talk of details for the hopeful marriage to the Counts daughter The subtitle of this monologue is Ferrara which suggests an historical reference to Alfonso II the fifth Duke of Ferrara in Italy in the mid-sixteenth century The objective of the Duke is to attempt to sway the envoys opinion of himself to obtain the maximum dowry possible in pursuit of this marriage The reader is directed to imagine the Duke walking with the envoy through his art gallery and the Duke stops to show him a painting of his last Duchess that is presently covered by a curtain Since none puts by the curtain I have drawn for you but I 9-10 This curtain is the first reference to the Dukes selfish jealous and protective traits The Duke uses the curtain as a method of controlling his wife even after her death Other men admiring her beauty was unacceptable so by hiding the painting behind a curtain he controls who is allowed to gaze upon her Sir twas not her husbands presence only called that spot of joy into the Duchess cheek 13-15 The Duke mentions the blush on the cheek that the duchess has in the painting and assumes that Fr Pandolf the painter was attracted to the Duchess and possibly paid her a compliment Her mantle laps Over my ladys wrist too much or Paint Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat 16-19 The Duke assumes that Fr Pandolf was most likely flirting with the Duchess and that she was flirting back with him This demonstrates that the Duke was extremely jealous
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