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How does the Duke in Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess"  view women's role in society?

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csanders76 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:18 PM via web

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How does the Duke in Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess"  view women's role in society?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:34 PM (Answer #1)

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Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" is a dramatic monologue set ion much the same imaginary construction of Renaissance Italy as that of Jacobean revenge tragedy. Within this setting, marriage was primarily an economic arrangement, rather than having the sort of romantic expectations of the Brownings' own marriage. The Duke negotiates for a new bride in straightforwardly economic terms:

 

The Count your master's known munificence

Is ample warrant that no just pretence

Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;

 

He is also often described as a collector of beautiful objects, and as well as seeing women as part of an economic system, also views them in terms of aesthetic exteriors, just as he views his art works. He is possessive of both.

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