The Thought-Process Presentation in the Speech Event of Browning’s My last Duchess (1842)

  • Ismael M. Saeed Lanja A. Dabbagh


The present research paper addresses the presentation of the thought- process within the speech event illustrated in My Last Duchess (1842) by Robert Browning (1812-1889). Consequently, the paper will make a critical analysis of the main poetic interlocutor’s mind- style. Thus, the speech event in the poem, and therefore the mental pattern, express verbally the Duke’s moral weakness, As such, the study of Browning’s style can reveal the implicit guilt within the poem’s sign system of the well-articulated utterances embracing the embedded narrative. Browning organized his stylistic resources to concentrate on the supremacy of certain key- words, which embrace the inner meanings. His style is an effective poetic discourse manipulated in ways that signal it as different from ordinary, non- poetic language, even though the material of the poet may be an exceptional topic like the marginalization of women. He can rarely be called a didactic poet. However, his style in the selected poem exposes, explains, and educates the readers about the conditions of women in Europe during the Renaissance, preventing the victimized women from speech. More important than the Duke’s eloquence is the Duchess that keeps silent. Her silence is more eloquent.It is the hypothesis of this paper that Browning’s distinguished style is achieved by letting the oppressor of woman do the eloquent talking rather than by letting the victimized woman speak. Thus, the poem discloses the real marginalization of women. As such, the poetic style will create the speech event where the speech presentation enables the addresser to send a message (victimization) to an addressee (the recipient) via a code (the style of the poem). The poetic style will turn into an integral part to support the poetic thesis, not only the poetic image. The function of style in Browning is more organic and more integrated with this kind of texture.Hence, in the case of Browning, stylistics is the discipline most appropriate to study the poetic elements and poetic features that trigger and play an important role in passing the poet’s intention across to the recipient. This is because the connection between the text and the context in Browning’s poetry is a subtle and symbiotic alliance. The implications of this research are much related to the manipulation of silence and speech in the art of conversation as represented in the poetic discourse based on facts.

How to Cite
LANJA A. DABBAGH, Ismael M. Saeed. The Thought-Process Presentation in the Speech Event of Browning’s My last Duchess (1842). Mustansiriyah Journal of Arts (MuJA), [S.l.], n. 64, p. 1:25, sep. 2018. ISSN 0258-1086. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 03 dec. 2021.