Or did she die in sorrow, informing the artist to paint that spot of joy in defiance of her pretentious jealous husband? Lines 1 - 4 The speaker is a man of means, a duke no less, of Ferrara most likely, a town in Italy. Sources The Hand of the Poet, Rizzoli, www.
In other words, the duke is fabricating a story, attempting to brainwash the emissary or circumvent the truth by implying that the artist's flattery and compliments caused the duchess to blush. Browning also uses symbols in the poem. Lines 22 - 34 The duke goes on, seemingly unable to stop himself, telling of his wife's happy disposition and positive outlook on life.
One thing is certain, this dramatic monologue is a masterpiece of the genre.
And the story itself is fascinating. Generally speaking men were in charge in a relationship; serious notions of equality had not yet been raised.