This poem generally is about the relationship between man and woman, especially the Duke and his wife the Duchess. This poem is dramatic monologue, in which a single character is telling a story or talking to a one person or a group of people but they are silent.
From line 1 to line 5 starts with the Duke talking to his guest about the portrait his last Duchess that has been painted on the wall. His beautiful wife has been painted on the wall, as if she is living. From this line readers can get that his wife is no longer alive. The Duke tell the listener, this portrait is a wonder and fantastic. The artist has been working hardly till she is there. The Duke mention the artist not only his name but he says “Fr Pandolf’ hands “. The reason he mentions his hands might be, because an artist uses his hands to paint, and while they are painting the hands are so attractive. The skills of moving and using these hands makes the portrait more and more interesting. Fr Pandolf is a professional and skillful artist.
Lines 5 to 13, the Duke asks his guest to has a sit and look at the portrait. This line indicates two things; first, the duke knows very well how to use his language without being offensive, second, asking the person to look at the portrait might means to examine or test it. By the wishes of the duke Fr Pandolf painted the Duchess. No one can see this beauty, “strangers like you” by saying this the duke consider his guest to be a stranger. No strangers can see this portrait unless the duke put the curtain away, only the duke no one else has the authority. Then, he assume people and his guest that they want to ask: how such a glance came there? Which shows that the duke is mentally ill, doubtful, jealous. He is mentally ill because no one asked him about that. He is doubtful because he uses the words perhaps, seemed, if which shows he is not sure. He, also is jealous because he doesn’t want from anyone to see the portrait of his dead wife.
Lines 14 to 25, the duchess is happy and smiling in the painting. The duke informs the listener that it wasn’t only the present of him that made that spot of joy, but rather Fr Pandlof has the chance to say” her mental laps over my lady’s wrist too much” or “paint must never hope to reproduce the faint half-flush that dies along her throat”. Things like that made her happy and made that spot of joy. This description of the duchess is from the duke which shows that she is a happy person and people are comfortable around her. Then the duke describes her heart, which was easy to make glad, and to easily impressed and she was looking everywhere. These characteristics are from the duke’s viewpoint, so one cannot relay on them one hundred present. However, if she is really like that, she is not a loyal wife. On another hand, she is sociable and modest.
Lines 25 to34, everything was the same for her. The expensive neckless that the duke gave her, the sunset, hours riding has the same feeling for her, accepting everyone the same. She was thanking everyone in the same way, which makes the duke not so happy. From this one can see the duke is so proud of himself, and his position. The duke gave the duchess his family name which is 900 years old, royal family, but she has no much interest about it.
Lines 35 to 43, the duke is not ready to stoop and solve such problems. Again this shows that this duke is too proud of himself as a way he is not ready to communicate with his wife, or warn her of what he doesn’t like.at the end of the day only argument and communication can solve problems between a husband and wife. In addition, it doesn’t lower the personality or social position if they stoop to solution but rather make a person to be humbler. The duke listed his problem with his wife and telling the listener if he has skills in speech to tell her in which he doesn’t have. Tell this duchess these are the bad characteristics of her which he not fine with them. If the duchess let to be lessoned and if she doesn’t bring excuses for her attitude, and don’t start talking nonsense, still he wouldn’t stoop to talk.
Lines 43 to 46, she would smile no doubt about that, who ever passes by her she will smile for them and it’s the same smile. This issue grew, the duke gave his command and stopped all the smiles all together. This wouldn’t happen if the duke wasn’t that much proud, small issues must be stopped at the beginning before they grow and cause bad effects on relationships. Maybe the duchess wasn’t the right woman for the duke, mismatch.
Lines 47 to 54, the duke ends telling the story be going back looking at the portrait of the duchess as if she is alive. Then he asks his guest to rise and go down stairs to meet the company there. Now finally one can get why the duke is talking about this for this man. From the word of your “master” readers understand that this person is a servant of a Count, and the duke wants to marry his daughter. This was an indirect warning for the new duchess.
Lines 55 to 57, on their way down the pass by a statue. They see Neptune’s statue God of sea taming sea-horses. This statue has two interpretations: one, can represent the duke in which he is controlling his wife and other things just the Neptune. The other is, this can be irony because the duke couldn’t control his wife in the right way, he couldn’t stoop. Also, he cannot control himself so how could he control others? One more things is that, the sea-horses represent the duchess, both of them are not harming anyone or anything. Therefore, there is no need to tame them in such way, but rather they are cute creatures.