Character analysis of the Duchess in the poem “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning

The Duchess does not physically appear in the poem My Last Duchess by Robert Browning. Through the Duke’s monologue, some aspects of her nature are only revealed. Naturally, her character is viewed, from the angle of the Duke, who is critical of what was graceful, rather beauty in her nature.

The Duchess was, no doubt, a lady of beauty and grace. She was good-natured, simple, and frank. She had the depth of sincerity, and was accommodative and never rude or discourteous to anyone. On the other hand, she entertained favour and greetings from all who admired her. She was enthusiastic about everything, even any insignificant matter. In fact, she was responsive readily and easily impressionable. She had no aristocratic ego of her husband, nor his vanity and possessiveness. Indeed, she was not what her husband was. Naturally, he did not like her nature, so timid and tender. So she had to become a helpless victim of her cruel, possessive-minded, tyrannical husband. Though the Duchess was very much tender, gentle, amiable and obliging to everyone, the wrong judgement of the Duke snatched away the life from her.

Also read: Critical analysis of Robert Browning’s poem “Meeting at Night”