please answer the questions below based on the poem
“My Last Duchess”; (Page 168) to whom is the duke speaking, and what is the occasion?
What does a comparison between the duke’s feelings about his artwork and his feelings about his last duchess reveal about his character?
Does the poem rely on irony? Explain.
Browning is said to have meant that the “commands” of line 45 are that the duchess be executed or sent to a convent. Write a poem, short piece of prose, or journal entry, from her point of view, addressing the painting of the portrait and her relationship with the speaker.
My Last Duchess
Robert Browning, 1812 – 1889That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,Looking as if she were alive. I callThat piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf’s handsWorked busily a day, and there she stands.Will ‘t please you sit and look at her? I said‘Frà Pandolf’ by design, for never readStrangers like you that pictured countenance,The depth and passion of its earnest glance,But to myself they turned (since none puts byThe curtain I have drawn for you, but I)And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,How such a glance came there; so, not the firstAre you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ‘t was notHer husband’s presence only, called that spotOf joy into the Duchess’ cheek: perhapsFrà Pandolf chanced to say, ‘Her mantle lapsOver my lady’s wrist too much,’ or ‘PaintMust never hope to reproduce the faintHalf-flush that dies along her throat:’ such stuffWas courtesy, she thought, and cause enoughFor calling up that spot of joy. She hadA heart — how shall I say? — too soon made glad,Too easily impressed; she liked whate’erShe looked on, and her looks went everywhere.Sir, ‘t was all one! My favour at her breast,The dropping of the daylight in the West,The bough of cherries some officious foolBroke in the orchard for her, the white muleShe rode with round the terrace — all and eachWould draw from her alike the approving speech,Or blush, at least. She thanked men, — good! but thanked Somehow — I know not how — as if she rankedMy gift of a nine-hundred-years-old nameWith anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blameThis sort of trifling? Even had you skillIn speech — (which I have not) — to make your willQuite clear to such an one, and say, ‘Just thisOr that in you disgusts me; here you miss,Or there exceed the mark’ — and if she letHerself be lessoned so, nor plainly setHer wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,– E’en then would be some stooping; and I chooseNever to stoop. Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt,Whene’er I passed her; but who passed withoutMuch the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;Then all smiles stopped together. There she standsAs if alive. Will ‘t please you rise? We’ll meetThe company below then. I repeat,
The Count your master’s known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!
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