3. Robert Browning
He was born in Camberwel; his father was a bank clerk. Browning received no formal education. He traveled to Italy, and on his return, Browning wrote Sordello. Then he wrote a number of short pamphlets that helped make Browning more popular.
Browning influenced the English poetry of the twenty century. His most famous work is My Last Duchess. This work is very important in English poetry because it is one of the first examples of Dramatic Monologue. A Dramatic monologue is a monologue that has a dialogic quality, and in which a character speaks to another person; this person is a silent listener, that is to say does not reply.
In the poetry of twenty century, the majority of poets use the dramatic monologue and Browning introduce it more of fifty years before; He is an innovator, that is to say, he is the first writer who detaches in a very drastic way from romantic tradition.
My Last Duchess
First of all the setting of this dramatic novel is the castle of Alfonso II Este, the Duke of Ferrara, a powerful Italian nobleman of the Renaissance. The duke is showing a portrait of his first wife to ambassador, sent to arrange the details of a second marriage. The true character of the duke emerges through the description that he does of his ex-wife.
We have a narrator in the first person that is the duke, but is not Browning, in fact seems that they are the same person, but it is not so, in fact there is the capacity of the writer to come in the mentality of his character.
The duke has a tyrannical mentality; it is a kind of dictatorship not only in social politic fields also in the sentimental field. His last duchess liked the attentions of the other, and because he was jealous, he prob-ably orders her murder. In fact, we understand his wife is dead thanks the second type conditional, that indicates an assumption contrary to the acts, and because the Duke is showing the picture of his wife to the ambassador.
The Final message of the poem is simple: he wants to underline that strong persons do bad actions with-out dirty their hands, in fact they order other to do. Browning takes Renaissance like a model. Also, the Duke shows to the ambassador the statue of Neptune, that indicates his Power, selfishness and posses-sion: as Neptune rules the sea’s creatures, the Duke dominates his subjects.
A Monologue is a speech made by a single character. The Interior Monologue is a technique in which a character speaks alone to himself. In theater the Interior Monologue is called Soliloquy, that is to say, when the character recites in a loud voice.