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ANTH 4220 Chapter Notes -My Last Duchess, Dramatic Monologue, Katherine Philips

Course Code
ANTH 4220
N/ A

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1) Representation
2) Discourse
3) Cultural Conventions
- Katherine Philips’ “To My excellent...”- images of women
- begins with the concept of friendship- women can offer this on a deeper level than
-the discourse: “thee” or “soul” or “bridegroom” (which is open to interpretation/
what kind of bond)
-cultural conventions: is upsetting the norm of woman and man having the
closest bond via marriage- women being challenged b/c of their friendship
My Last Duchess: 1846
- is a dramatic monologue; will reflect indirectly on the speaker of the monologue;
focuses on a single character and personality is expressed sometimes ironically
- monologue deals with character development and reoccurring theme
- poem is loosely based on historical events involving Alfonso, the Duke of Ferrara, who
lived in the 16th century (Italy)
- the Duke is the speaker of the poem
- he reminisces about his late wife (the Duchess) to a guest he is entertaining
- the Duke talks about his young wife being flirtatious and how “..she smiled, no doubt,
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without much the same smile?”
- the Duchess smiled at her husband like she did at everyone else
- theme of jealousy as the Duke assumes that everyone wants his Duchess
- the monologue begins innocently, which contrasts with the jealousy and anger, and
boastful bragging that the monologue ends with
-he can’t win over her love and this angers him
- lines such as “[he] gave commands; / Then all smiles stopped together” connote that
perhaps the Duke is the one who killed or ended the Duchess’ life
Victorianism: refers to the time Victoria was on the throne (1837-1901)
- industrialization
- urbanization; people move to larger cities to find work
- shift from feudalism and farming, to industrialization
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