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My Last Duchess

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My Last Duchess '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'. ...read more.


"My favour at her breast, the dropping of the daylight in the West". Here the Duke tells us that he believed he had a seat at her heart. However her passion for him was diminishing as quickly as a day's sunset in the West. The daylight is such a beautiful thing, but her love for him was like the 'dropping of daylight' meaning that he was losing such a beauty and he regretted. This metaphor used is a tragic metaphor. The rhetorical question used on line 23 reflects his anger. "A heart - how shall I say? - too soon made glad..." this quote explains that she was pleased by all men, and the Duke was struggling to find a way to express himself successfully. ...read more.


"This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands as if alive." The deliberate ambiguity used in this sentence hints to the audience that he has murdered her. The poem is one extended verse and there is a stream of consciousness in what the Duke is saying. This shows that he is not really thinking about what he is saying; he's just speaking the numerous thoughts that are in his mind. The poet makes use of enjambrement at many times throughout the poem. "She rode with round the terrace - all and each...She thanked men, - good! But thanked - somehow - I know not how - as if..." This again reflects his disjointed feelings and his disturbed state of mind. It shows that he was very angry from her actions but he had so much passion towards her that he regretted ever losing her. ...read more.

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