My Last Duchess Essay

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In the following excerpt, Miller discusses how the Duke reveals his enormous ego as he describes the painting of his last Duchess.

Few teachers of Browning's "My Last Duchess" fail to encounter a common undergraduate assessment of the Duchess as at best a flirt, at worst a faithless wife. Usually unaccompanied by evidence, this assessment is easily dismissed by a practiced reader, especially inasmuch as received opinion enshrines the Duchess as a model of spontaneity and innocent joy and a victim of her egomaniacal husband. While I believe the Duchess's character to be almost precisely what received opinion holds it to be, I would like to assert that the vague appraisal of the Duchess as flirtatious or unfaithful is a misappraisal only because incomplete. In fact, because the Duke is the source of this misrepresentation, ignoring it robs us of another example of his cunningly disavowed skill in...

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This section contains 1,053 words
(approx. 3 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.