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My Last Duchess Summary
Robert Browning

Everything you need to understand or teach My Last Duchess by Robert Browning.

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My Last Duchess Summary

Introduction

First published in the collection Dramatic Lyrics in 1842, "My Last Duchess" is an excellent example of Browning's use of dramatic monologue. Browning's psychological portrait of a powerful Renaissance aristocrat is presented to the reader as if he or she were simply "eavesdropping" on a slice of casual conversation. As the poem unfolds, the reader learns the speaker of the poem, Duke Ferrara, is talking to a representative of his fiancée's family. Standing in front of a portrait of the Duke's last wife, now dead, the Duke talks about the woman's failings and imperfections. The irony of the poem surfaces as the reader discovers that the young woman's "faults" were qualities like compassion, modesty, humility, delight in simple pleasures, and courtesy to those who served her.

Using abundant detail, Browning leads the reader to conclude that the Duke found fault with his former wife because she did not...

(read more from the Study Guide)

Study Pack

The My Last Duchess Study Pack contains about 90 pages of study material in 16 products, including:

My Last Duchess Study Guide

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