My Last Duchess Essay

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Arnold Markley is a freelance writer who has contributed essays and reviews to Approaches to Teaching D. H. Lawrence's Fiction and The Jour nal of the History of Sexuality. He is currently an Assistant Professor in English at Penn State University, Media, PA. In the following essay, Markley describes how Browning uses the form of the dramatic monologue to let the poem's subject tell a story while, at the same time, unintentionally revealing some unflattering personality traits.

Robert Browning's poem "My Last Duchess" is a splendid example of the irony that a poet can achieve within the format of the dramatic monologue, a poetic form in which there is only one speaker. When there is only one speaker, we necessarily have to weigh carefully what he or she is telling us, and we often have to "read between the lines" in keeping an objective perspective on the story...

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This section contains 1,741 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the My Last Duchess Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
My Last Duchess from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.