Analysis of My Last Duchess

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‘My Last Duchess’ is a poem written by Robert Browning in 1845. It’s a

first person narrative of a duke who is showing the ambassador around

his palace and negotiating his marriage to the daughter of another

powerful family. As they are walking through the palace, the duke

stops and looks at the beautiful portrait of his lovely last duchess.

The duke speaks his thoughts about the girl, and as the poem

progresses we begin to realize that his last duchess had been

murdered. “…I gave commands, then all smiles stopped together,” This

metaphorical sentence tells us that his commands were the ones that

caused her death and her ‘stop of all smiles together’. The reason

behind this is that she was flirtatious with all men because “she

liked whate’er she looked on, and her looks went everywhere”.

The language techniques used in this poem emphasize the Duke’s Last

Duchess’s flirtatious character. They also hint to us the themes of

murder, jealousy, suspicion and the Duke’s psychopathic character. The

word ‘I’ is quite often used. “The curtain I have drawn for you, but

I…” Thi...