My Last Dutchess Essay Questions
The Duke begins then reminiscing about the portrait sessions, about the Duchess herself and her despicable behavior of being too easily impressed, treating everyone equally, and everyone liking her so much. He claims she flirted with everyone and did not fully appreciate his “gift of nine-hundred-years-old name”. As the monologue goes on, “[he] gave commands; / Then all smiles stopped together. ” and the reader is informed that the Duke was the one who caused his wife’s early death, due to his possessiveness, dominancy and jealousy.
After this is all over, the Duke continues to make plans to find a new wife as soon as possible, and seeks to marry the Count of Tyrol’s daughter, however with the evidence provided in the poem we know that the Count will discover the torturous possessiveness and dangerous dominancy of the Duke that he will not allow this to happen. As this information of the Duke is let out to the public, he will have no future wives; therefore the Duchess he has formerly killed was indeed his last. 2.
Fra Pandolf is the Italian artist that captured the entire beauty of the Duke’s last Duchess. We know this because as it reads “Fra Panolf’s hands worked busily a day, and there she stands. ”, proving that Pandolf was indeed the one to paint this magnificent picture of the late wife. Also it reads “Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said ‘Fra Pandolf’ by design,”, as the Duke is describing the magnificent painting of his former wife mentioning his name as the artist. 3. “Since none puts by the curtain I have drawn for you but I”.
This phrase describes the pure male dominancy and control the Duke wanted over his wife when she was alive. For now that she is dead, and all that’s left of her is the portrait on the landing that he controls who see’s and enjoys by covering it with a black curtain. When the Duchess was alive, she was so jolly and innocent and everyone liked her and the Duke hated that so, he killed her out of jealousy. He tried to do the impossible of taming the un-controllable and when it didn’t work, he exterminated the problem, being her.
Since she is now covered by this curtain and nobody else can control the revealing of the painting, the Duke got what he wanted, total control. This says a lot about the character of the speaker because he is thought of to be cruel and psycho by wanting such control over his wife. 4. The “spot of joy” is simply a special kind of look that the Duchess has to her that is very unique and luminous. Everyone likes the Duchess for her cheerful personality and her ability to treat everyone just the same, also for her gratefulness, because she appreciated anything anyone gave her.
The Duke was absolutely jealous of these aspects of the Duchess and despised her because people liked her so much and because she treated him just the same as everyone else. She was a very unique and beautiful creature, yet the Duke thought she was simple-minded and a trollop because she “flirted” with everyone when really she was just being herself, kind and warm- hearted. 5. The tone of the poem is bitter because it being told by the Duke, whom is extremely jealous of the attention his wife was getting and hates what she was like, over- appreciative and too nice.
But after she is eliminated, he feels satisfied because she is out of the picture and because he has her portrait on the landing, only he can control who sees her and enjoys her now. Overall, the Duke is generally bitter towards the Duchess and detests the fact that his wife even had any attention at all. 6. The literal meaning of the line “I gave commands… ” is that the Duke warned the Duchess that if she did not listen to him and stop acting the way she acted around everyone – simple minded, sweet and innocent, that he would end things.
This line of the story gives us a reassuring feeling that there is indeed something wrong with the Duke, as he is so incredibly possessive and dominant, and that he is the root of evil in the story. We discover from this line as well that the Duchess had no choice but to either surrender to his control or to continue being herself and be killed. Personally, I think she made the right decision of not listening to the Duke because she would have lived as a fake and would have to live with the guilt of giving up everything, including her personality, to him. . The significance of the reference to Neptune is the symbolism of brutal male domination of the beautiful and natural. As the Duke is extremely cold, possessive and controlling over his beautiful wife and wishes to have her displayed behind a black curtain that only he controls who see’s after he has deceased, he directly shows his traits of brutal male authority. Likewise, in the portrait of Neptune taming a seahorse that the Duke has hung on the wall may regard to the same brutal male authority of trying to tame the beautiful and natural.
Both characters show their callous personalities and having no remorse for what they have done, being cruel, selfish and materialistic people. 8. Yes, I do think that the author is trying to tell us something about ourselves through the story, and that is human possessiveness, not particularly over other people, but money and materials. We think too much about what we possess, and the things we own begin to own us, we then do whatever we can to retain control over these things, by not letting other people see or use them, or keep them hidden because we like to keep them for ourselves.
For example, I have this pair of fur boots that I am in love with and I will not let any of my friends borrow them or try them on because they are sacred to me. This example can compare to the story because the Duke is too obsessed with his wife and wanting complete control over her, he will do whatever it takes to get that authority to make her do whatever he wishes. We as humans also enjoy having this privilege of being in management over people and objects, it’s our way of feeling important and is sometimes good for self esteem… but too much, like as in the story, is unhealthy and could cause extreme repercussions.