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  • Date Submitted: 12/12/2013 07:33 PM
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Compare and Contrast Essay on “My Last Duchess” and “In Westminster Abbey”
A dramatic monologue refers to a kind of poem in which a single fictional or historical character other than the poet is made to speak to a silent audience. In dramatic monologues only the main character is allowed to speak. The objective of the monologue is to reveal not the poet’s own thoughts but the mind of the lead character of the poem. (Christopher Baldick 1) In the process, the poet reveals to the audience the main character’s personality. Moreover, in a dramatic monologue the main focus is the personal information not the topic which the speaker happens to be talking about.

My Last Duchess
The two poems to be discussed in this essay are typical examples of a dramatic monologue. The setting of “My Last Duchess”, a poem by Robert Browning, is the palace of Duke of Ferrara during the 16th Century. Ferrara is in the northern Italy. The Duke of Ferrara in “My Last Duchess” resembles a historical character who was Alfonso II, the fifth and last duke. Meanwhile the deceased duchess in his poem refers to Lucrezia de Medici, the daughter of a Duke of Florence and Grand Duke of Tuscany.

As is common in many other dramatic monologues, “My Last Duchess” offers a glimpse of the personality of the Duke of Ferrara. The first line alone reveals that he is an art lover. In the first three lines, “That's my last duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder.” The portrait of the late Duchess of Ferrara is a fresco, which is a type of work painted in watercolors directly on a plaster wall. His statement about calling that piece a wonder emphasizes that he has in his possession many other paintings. It gives the impression that the painting of the Duchess is the one painting that is more valuable than the other.

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The second character trait of the Duke of Ferrara as shown in this poem is that...


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