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Pride and Ego

Pride and Ego “That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall/Looking as if she were alive. I call/That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf’s hands/Worked busily a day, and there she stands.” In the first four lines of Robert Browning’s beautifully written poetic monologue, The Last Duchess, the reader is introduced to the Duke’s haughty and nonchalant attitude toward his deceased first wife. This outlook is carried through the entire piece, as I observe his obvious admiration of his beloved portrait and his eventual disclosure that his Duchess did not die of natural causes. The Duke alludes to the fact that he ordered the murder of his wife simply because his enormous ego was affronted. His obvious need for her undivided attention and complete control over her every move provoked him to have this deed carried out. One can almost hear the Duke’s true feelings of indignance, as he describes the Duchess to his guest. “Sir, ‘twas not/Her husband’s presence only, called that spot/Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek:…” Her countenance and demeanor illustrated a true love of life, as it seems to have affected the way she treated those she encountered. It is as if she looked upon everyone as equal in stature, with no regard to status. Regrettably for her, this included the Duke, whose idea of respect is to be placed above all else and treated reverentially. “She had/A heart – how shall I say? – too soon made glad,/Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er/She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.” Unfortunately, because she seemed to be enchanted with her surroundings and not completely focused on her husband, the Duke’s warped ideas of respect and subservience were insulted. Since he is the Duke of Ferrara and a prominent figure in society, he expects to be shown complete reverence and be the center of attention. He demands nothing less from his wife, although it seems as if that particula...

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Pride and Ego. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:11, August 28, 2014, from