Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess is more of a comment on the teller than on the tale as it is written in the form of an internal monologue which comments on the masculinity and gender conflict within the Victorian context. In his poem, Browning has portrayed the speaker as an egotistical Duke who objectifies women and always has to see himself as powerful and in control. The central irony of this poem is shown through the structure of this poem where the composer demonstrates the extent of the Duke’s jealousy and how it results in his obsessive behaviour.
In the poem My Last Duchess, the Duke of Ferrara is revealed to be an egotistical patriarch.   The quote, “as if she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody’s gift”, supports the idea of the speaker’s pride in his family name and its level of high status in society. The effect of this line creates an image of the Duke’s aristocratic lineage which evokes his egotistical manner. This comments on the speaker as his egocentric thoughts make him feel more powerful and therefore reaffirms his masculinity to uphold the values of the Victorian context.
The Duke is not only exposed as an egotistical man, but one who also objectifies women and perceives them as disposable possessions. Through the technique of metaphor, Browning emphasises the teller’s sense of objectification of women, yet at the same time, he is able to maintain the Duke’s ego. The speaker states, “sir! Notice Neptune, though, taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,” which suggests that the Duke views himself as powerful, as he refers himself to Neptune (the king of the sea) and the Duchess to a sea-horse. His objectification is emphasised in his thought for ‘taming’ the Duchess, this comments on the gender conflict of the Victorian context, where men are considered to be dominant.
Browning portrays the Duke’s jealousy through the leadings to his obsessive behaviour to reassure his power and control over those who he possesses. The...