I completely agree with Megan’s interpretation of the poem, “My Last Dutchess,” by Robert Browning. I think that the Duke was very in love with the Dutchess, but was driven mad by her unfaithfulness. I have considered the possibility that he could be speaking with the future Dutchess. He makes the explanation of the last Dutchess a very secret and intimate moment by saying, “since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I.” He could be trying to give the new wife-to-be fair warning. I believe that the last Dutchess was very promiscuous. The Duke states that “she liked what’er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.” The Duke couldn’t understand how he could love her so much, and she could disrespect him and disregard his feelings so carelessly. He questions how she could compare the gift of his good name and fortune with anything that anyone else could possibly have.
Somehow-I know not how- as if she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-yeats-old name With anybody’s gift. In lines 43-46, the Duke seems to try and order her to stop her behavior. “Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt, whene’er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands, Then all the smiles stopped together. There she stands As if alive.” It’s obvious that when the Duke attempted to put his foot down, the Dutchess became angry. She lost the little interest that she had had in him and, in turn, lost her life.
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. ” ...
Now, she could be his forever. He seems proud of himself at the end. He has finally won because he has control of her. “Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me. I took this statement to mean that taming the Dutchess was thought to be as impossible as taming a sea-horse. It was an impossible task, but the Duke had done it. And now, he has her bronzed, just like a trophy. The two questions I still have are: 1. Who is the Duke talking to in the poem? 2. Is the Dutchess alive or dead when the portrait is painted?
The second question comes from the quotation “Paint Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along the throat.” By having the words “Half-flush,” “dies,” and “throat,” in the same sentence seems to give the feeling that she was already dead when Fra Pandolf painted her, which would explain why he took “a day” to do it. The Duke could have been crazy enough to have her painted after she was murdered.