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"my Last Duchess" Analysis

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Essay title: "my Last Duchess" Analysis

Murder... mystery... intrigue... All describe Robert Browning's

poem, "My Last Duchess." From the speakers's indirect allusions to the

death of his wife the reader might easily think that the speaker

committed a vengeful crime out of jealousy. His flowery speech confuses

and disguises any possible motives, however, and the mystery is left

unsolved. Based on the poem's style, structure, and historical

references, it becomes evident that even if the speaker did not directly

kill his wife, he certainly had something to hide.

The style and structure of this poem play a significant role in the

effect of the poem. As is typical of Browning's poems, "My Last

Duchess" is written as a dramatic monologue: one speaker relates the

entire poem as if to another person present with him. This format suits

this poem particularly well because the speaker, taken to be the Duke of

Ferrara, comes across as being very controlling, especially in

conversation. For example, he seems jealous that he was not able to

monopolize his former duchess' smiles for himself. He also seems to


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