11 November 2014
My Last Husband
“My last Duchess” and “My Ex-Husband” two marriages, two images, and two poems, both with similar plots. Just as much as it has its differences both, also share similarities. “My Ex-Husband” is the classic example of how spouses view their ex after an unpleasant divorce. While “My Last Duchess” describes a portrait of the dukes last wife, who has passed away. Both share a loss of some sort, with an unrequited love, and a different illustration.
“My Ex-Husband” starts out with the narrator expressing her feelings about her previous husband. She is describing him trying to explain a picture she has of him in a frame to an unnamed character. As she does, she reveals the underlying love she still has for him. She portrays to be moving on with the unnamed character, but her internal struggles don’t allow her to move on from her past. Despite her hatred she describes her ex-husband “as any woman’s perfect catch” (line 9) in the photograph. Although as the poem develops we see that she used to find this man as her perfect catch. So what ruined her perspective towards him, which makes her hate him? The alleged affair he had not only makes her hate him, but make her obsessive. Like people say “love makes you do crazy things” unfortunately just makes her dingy. The narrator’s rabid tone, demonstrates how she still has unresolved emotions for this man. She stops uttering about her ex shorty before the poem comes to an end. Before changing the conversation she says “and I choose never ever to get stuck”( line 39). Essentially what she is saying is that she doesn’t want to get stuck on the short end of the stick. The end of the stick that loses. As she does change the conversation by making dinner plans with this unidentified character. Nevertheless she managed to mention her divorce settlement that landed her champagne flutes. It’s all she is left with materialistic items and the short end of the stick, where she is stuck.
“My last Duchess” is a monologue with a silent character. From the title of the poem we see the main character is some sort of royalty. The poem starts with him drawing the attention of the person whom he is talking to. He is unnamed, but as we later find out is a messenger from the Count’s family whose daughter’s hand the duke seeks in marriage. The Duke insists for him to sit, saying “sir” (line 13) being respectful of their formal relationship. He makes sure to let it be known that he hired the talented Fra Pandolf, which worked hard for a day making the portrait look realistic. Tells the messenger “Her husband’s presence only, called that spot of joy into the Duchess’ cheek” (line 14-15) meaning she is blushing of pleasure. Thus sir majesty has an issue with that since the portrait was accurate, you get what you see. He was not the cause for the “spot of joy”, but believes he should be the only one to make her blush. In line 21-24 he says “Too easily impressed: she liked whate’er” and he found that as her biggest flaw. What he wants her to be is a snob, who isn’t easily pleased by everything. He goes on to describe how she praised everything she saw from a sunset to fruit offerings, that made her happy. She has a nine-hundred year old last name full of power and prestige thanks to him. Unlike her family who didn’t have that power, makes him believe that he’s superior. If he gave her the greatest gift, why doesn’t she appreciate it? All she does is “stays quiet and blushes” (line 31) but doesn’t blush in that special way as she does with others. He is seeking for the Count’s hand in marriage showing that he wants to move on. In reality he isn’t ready to move on. He is still stuck in the past with his belated wife, which shows by having the portrait hanging up in his private gallery.
The narrators in the poems express their feelings towards their lost ones. To start comparing both of the narrators have their differences, but with