In 'My Last Duchess' the Duke of Ferrara is addressing the envoy of the Count of Tyrol. Although he is on his best behaviour, the Duke of Ferrara demonstrates many sociopathic tendencies as he recalls the time he shared with his now-deceased Duchess. Even in death the Duke wished to hide her away behind the curtain where no other man could admire her beauty. The Duke then resumes an earlier conversation regarding wedding arrangements, and in passing points out another work of art, a bronze statue of Neptune taming a sea-horse by Claus of Innsbruck, so making his late wife but just another work of art.
This section reveals the identity of the Duke’s listener. He is the servant of a Count in the land, and they are trying to arrange a marriage between the Duke and the Count’s daughter. The Duke says that his “fair daughter” is his “object”. He brings the man back downstairs with him, and as they walk, he points out bronze statue that was made especially for him. The statue is of Neptune taming a sea-horse. Neptune, of course, is the god of the sea. This symbolizes the Duke, and the sea-horse symbolizes any Duchess he would acquire. The Duke views himself as a god, and he wishes to tame his wife to do whatever he wishes her to do, and even to feel whatever he wishes her to feel. This man is clearly demented and controlling, and the speaker in My Last Duchess reveals Browning’s ideas of his fellow men.