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'My Last Duchess'

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Introduction

AMDG Andrew Baird L5- 'My Last Duchess' 'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning is a dramatic monologue in which the Duke of Ferrara is discussing the matter of a dowry with an emissary sent by a Count. The use of dramatic monologue allows the poet to subtly reveal the personality of the persona to the reader. The language used by the speaker allows the poet to evoke strong emotions in the reader, something I intend to prove. The reader is given an early insight into the personality of the Duke in the very first line of the monologue: 'That's my last Duchess painted on the wall' This early impression portrays the Duke as a very sophisticated man with a wealth of knowledge in art. This impression is continued when he mentions the very artist who painted the Duchess, 'Fra Pandolf'. However, even at this early stage there are some hints that the Duke may not be all that he claims to be- the use of the word 'My' is very possessive, perhaps suggesting that the duke sees the Duchess as no more than an object. ...read more.

Middle

The poet's use of style represents the Duke himself- the poem has many example of rhyme, for example 'Paint' and 'Faint' and, 'Durst and 'First'- this would suggest that the persona was articulate. However, this is shown to be nothing more than a fa´┐Żade in the way in which the lines of the poem run together, showing that the poet is not as skilled in language as he would like to make out: 'but/thanked/Somehow' The Duke here is seen to be struggling to express himself, showing his lack of skill in language and emphasising that he has tried to create a false impression of himself. Even the rhythm of the poem, iambic pentameter, which is very regular and basic, reflects the simplicity of the speaker himself, in terms of his linguistic ability. The manner in which the Duke tries to cover up this limited ability emphasises his superficiality. ...read more.

Conclusion

This leads to the reader feeling sympathy towards her and therefore anger towards the Duke who took her life away. The climax of the monologue comes when the Duke says: 'I gave commands Then all smiles stopped together' The use of the word 'commands' here yet again shows the possessive nature of the Duke and the alliteration in the phrase 'smiles stopped' emphasises it, which makes the awfulness of the Duke's actions clear to the reader. Even the use of the personal pronoun 'I', something which is used repeatedly towards the end of the poem, emphasises the superficiality of the Duke and this leaves the reader feeling nothing less than hatred for him. In his dramatic monologue 'My Last Duchess', Robert Browning successfully uses language, particularly word choice to gradually reveal the character of the Duke of Ferrara. The reader starts off being slightly unsure about the Duke but this quickly turns to hatred as he describes the murder of the Duchess. This revelation of character make the poem exciting and very enjoyable to read. ...read more.

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