The poem “My Last Duchess” written by Robert Browning, tells a sinister account of a powerful and well thought of mans trials and tribulations in his past and future love affairs. The poem is written in monologue and mainly portrays a picture of his last wife and the jealousy she caused him, but also shows his preparation in getting a new wife. The poem shows us how his wives are mainly for show and treated as more of a possession than a loved one, and also gives us an insight into the type of marriages that occur in this poem as they are treated much like a business transaction.
The poem shows many controversial attitudes towards women and creates of a good picture of how women were treated and controlled by men. The poem shows us that the Duke treats his wife as nothing more than a possession of his, this point is best shown towards the end of the poem when they are outlining the ‘contact’ for his soon to be wife. “Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed at starting, is my object.
” This quote shows that the Duke thinks of women as simply an object of his, and we can also see from the poem that his women are not mainly for love but mainly for show and are kept as more of a pet than an human being. This way in which the Duke uses and maltreats his women is shown repeatedly throughout the poem and is shown first at the very beginning of the poem when we find out that he covers a painting of his ex-wife with a curtain. “That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall…
The curtain I have drawn for you,” this quote shows us that the painting of his last wife is normally keep hidden away behind the curtain but is revealed on special occasions and could be a metaphor of how he likes to keep his women hidden and only uses them for show. This way in which the Duke maltreats his women is again shown when we find out that he is very over controlling, this is best shown, when he is talking about how his ex-wife didn’t respect him and how his family name wasn’t good enough for her and says “Just this or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, or here you exceed the mark”.
This quote tells us that he is a controlling character and he wants everything to be perfect, he explains how sometimes she would go too far with something or sometimes not far enough and how he wanted this to be put right. All these points, which show the Dukes unjust beliefs of how women should be treated, show him to be an over controlling and a very callous man, but inside he must have some feelings and care for his ex-wife as he has kept a painting of her? As well as the Duke treating his wife as a possession, the poem describes the Duke to show some of male’s worst stereotypical behaviour when in marriage.
The poem shows the Duke to be over controlling, arrogant and several times, shows him being jealous because of how his wife acts. The poem shows the Dukes arrogance best; firstly when he is talking about how his ex-wife didn’t realise the gift he gave her and he says, “she ranked my gift of a nine-hundred-year-old name with anybody’s gift” and also when he talks about forgiving her and says that he would but doesn’t want to belittle himself, “E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose never to stoop. “