In a poem there is more than meets the eye. Robert Browning's My Last Duchess belongs to the genre of the dramatic monologue from the Victorian period. In this study I will analyze the poem centering on the symbols and the speaker, what is their role and how do they contribute to its interpretation.
Namely I will analyze the symbols as they are defined in the Webster Miriam Dictionary; 2: something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance; especially: a visible sign of something invisible
[...] This disappointment may have been the reason for the wife's death. The Duke gives examples of things that she was charmed by such as dropping of the daylight in the West/ The bough of cherries some officious fool/ Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule/ She rode with round the terrace [ (Lines 26 - 29). She enjoys the sunset for it treasures and for its beauty while the Duke finds it nonsense. The cherry branch given to her by an official is white and pink, which could be representative for her youth and her innocence. [...]
[...] This perception is strongly felt in Laura's and Lizzie's inner calm. At first, the women are described as veiled and huddled together, small and weak, under the necessity of leaning against each other. When one is out at night, the darkness, the shadows and the silence disturbs her mind, turning her into subdued and weak person. Rossetti uses different images of the day to define the moments when the happy events occur. Before Laura's fall, the girls are placed during the day, when the "twilight is not good for maidens". [...]
[...] An excessive sexual activity was regarded as a health hazard for the person and for the society. Thus, in a marital relationship it was not recommended for more than 12 sexual contacts per year, otherwise the result could be madness. All the more the sexual activity of young people manifested especially through masturbation was prohibited. There were invented and patented different sorts of devices to prevent morning erection. Women were seen as weak, ethereal, fragile and especially devoid of passion creatures. [...]
[...] The imaging regarding the water is also related to the womb and the birth process. "The wave that always runs" suggests a return to the beginning of time as it overcome real places (Camelot and the Shalott Island). Colors play an important role in defining Camelot as a place of desire. Red and white are in contrast with the gloomy shades of grey in the Lady's world. The red on women's cloaks and the red cross on Lancelot's shield represent light and knowledge, desire and passion of the Victorian courtly love. [...]
[...] He expresses himself loosely, without remorse, without stammering when thinking of the memory of such an inhuman act. The painting of the Duchess, in natural size, hidden behind a curtain and painted by Fra Pandolf, is the only way he managed to make her obey. It was the only way in which he considered her entirely his. Only through this did he think of himself as the absolute master of the depth, passion, determination of her eyes. depth and passion of its earnest glance”. ( Line 8). [...]
using our reader.