HOW FAR DO YOU AGREE THAT THE CHARACTERS IN BROWINING’S POEMS DISPLAY A DISTURBING LACK OF MORALITY?

Topics: Morality, Duke, Kill Pages: 2 (719 words) Published: November 14, 2013
In My Last Duchess, the Duke is portrayed as a jealous and insecure man who hides behind his power. While jealousy is an emotion which can sometimes be seen as a good thing in the context of a relationship, the Duke is an example of how too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. The Duke feels troubled on how his wife was, apparently, “too soon made glad” and while it is evident that the Duchess was simply a kind natured woman; the Duke’s alleges her actions as wrong or even promiscuous because the Duke feels only he can discriminate what is good or not. His lack of morality is shown when he begins to criticize the Duchess’ lack of discrimination and even deems the “dropping of the daylight in the West” – a gift from God- as less important than his gift. The intensity of his jealousy is also disturbing because of the disastrous results it leads to and how casual the Duke is and his attempted kindness towards the messenger. It is after the Duchess’ death that he then appreciates her but only once she is the subject of a piece of art and his celebratory approach to her death is, to the reader, alarming. When he talks about a piece of art he owns, “Notice Neptune, though, taming a sea-horse”, he implies that taming a woman is like taming a sea-horse, while implying that a woman is one that has to be controlled which shows his immoral misogynistic nature. However, at the time period that this poem was set, art was much appreciated, women were relatively powerless, and violence and murder was not uncommon and the Duke’s act of murdering his wife in order to gain a new one may be seen as expected though not in present times. His rule of “money first, woman later” when he speaks of the Count’s “known munificence” reveals more of the Duke’s indecency and his lack of change at the end of the poem. ‘The Laboratory’ is also another example on how the characters in the poems exaggerate their jealousy in ways that make them delusional in which they possess a false...
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