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My Last Duchess

We see he is manipulative and controlling when he expressed that only he is in charge of who now sees his former wifeĂs countenance, ˘Ósince none puts by / The curtain I have drawn for you÷ (Browning 1842, 9-10). The Duke has put a curtain over his dead wifeĂs portrait and only he reveals it when and to whom he choose.

We see that the Duke is materialistic through BrowningĂs use of his references to the things that brought a smile to the dead DuchessĂ lips. She took great pleasure and smiled heartily at the ˘dropping of daylight in the West÷, ˘the bough of cherries÷, and her ˘white mule÷ (Browning 1842, 26-28). We see that the Duke is materialistic and cannot appreciate his wifeĂs pleasure in such things as a sunset or cherry bough when he proclaims in reference to such natural phenomena, ˘Óas if she ranked / My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name / With anybodyĂs gift÷ (Browning 1842, 32-34). Thus through word choice and speech, the poet shows the irony between the DukeĂs impression of himself and the readerĂs perceptions of him. Perrine (1982) defines irony as ˘saying the opposite of what one means÷ (98).

Written in AABB couplets and iambic pentameter, the poem also uses rhythm to reveal a good deal about the speakerĂs persona. The AABB rhyme and the iambic pentameter mimic the flow of music or melody. The use of run-ons and end stops also mimics music. As Ciardi (1959) main


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My Last Duchess. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:14, October 25, 2014, from
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