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My Last Duchess

Robert Browning

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Added by: Helen
the poem is ambiguous. It, very cleverly, lets the reader decide for themself who the duke is and what his association with the author ma be, if there is one. It is written in the form of a dramatic monologue, Browning has captured an authentic speaking voice. the syntax is manipulated by browning in order to create this conversatinal tone. It is interesting that although this poem is not about the duke, it is his character that people find easy to comment on and criticise. It is the way in which (the tone in which) the duke speaks of his dead wife which displays the disturbing psychology behind his actions.
Added by: lals
the ouvert situation of the poem is that the duke is showing the emmisary his art. form and content compliment each other, the message is a warning. he is not a man to be trifled with. his last wife offended by her 'possible' flirtatious behaviour, she was too free with her smiles and since it was beneath his aristocratic pride to even mention it to her, he had her killed. hmm lush
Added by: Tarah
The poem is about historical events and is about the truth to the Renaissance. The speaker is the Duke of Ferrara. He was tired of his first wife treating everyone as his equal because he believed that his name was of a higher standard. He wouldn't even have a conversation with his wife as he would not lower himself to her level. He got sick of her crossing the line and being paid too much attention so he ordered her death and had her portrait done so that she would become his posession. He hid it behind the curtain for his viewing and so that he could show it to other seleted strangers to brag about his trophy!
English, Mths
Added by: Tom Mee
I have been set an english prep by my teacher and I don not have a clue what to do!

The two poems are 'the captain of the 1964 top of the form team' (by Carol ann duffy) and 'my last duchess' (robert browning)

Compare between the two poets how they convet their characters
Added by: Chris
Hey Everyone,
THanks for your comments, it has really helped me! My teacher was going over the poem, i don't think even he knew that the duchess was killed, but it doesn't make sense in any other way.
The Individual and Society
Added by: Amanda
I believe that this poem identifies how people are expected to conform to the expectations that society places on them. The duchess represents an individual who is killed by the duke as he believes that he should own her as his possession. This value of women as objects was common in the time this was written, and Browning is trying to demonstrate this idea and make people think about the individual and how they are viewed in society's eyes.
It's not that hard!
Added by: Alex, Marlow
When we first read the pwom, we were like WHAT!?!?!?!?! But if you actually read it it is a very fine portrayal of a complex hunger for power, and by killing the Duchess, he is feeding his dominant desire for authority.
My favorite
Added by: Abbi
This was one of my favorite poems in high school. I'm glad I had the opportunity to analyze the poem then.
Added by: Larry
Not only was the Duchess unfaithful (in her husband's eyes) "'twas not/Her husband's presence only, called that spot/Of joy INTO the Duchess' cheek", she also demeaned his rank ("as if she ranked/My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name/With anybody's gift". BUT why was that significant to Victorian England? I leave you to ponder that parallel, if any.
Added by: Max
I have been studying this at school and it is clear that the Duke is a very possesive character and everything he sees is warped by paranoia. His wife is purely a well meaning young woman who likes to smile, and is naturally thankful when given a present. However the Duke feels she should be a trophy who he can hang on his wall, she should only smile for him, and to no one else, and he does have an aristocratic name which he has given her, and believes to be a contract binding her to only be thankful to him and not to others for their petty gifts in comparison. As for the person he speaks to, he is some kind of servant (lawyer etc.) who can advise the father of his new bride, he hints to the fact that he has murdered his last wife, but does not state it outright, this way the servant thinks he might have understood but will not repeat it at the risk of seeming a fool, however he will advise his master that the new Duchess had better not SHOW favour to other men. A great poem, Browning has managed to evoke all kinds of emotion in the reader in regards to the Duke.

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