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My Last Duchess

My Last Duchess


Robert Browning

My Last Duchess Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

Browning himself described this poem as a "dramatic lyric" – at least, Dramatic Lyrics was the title he gave to the book of poems in which "My Last Duchess" first appeared. The "dramatic" par...


The speaker of "My Last Duchess" is, of course, the Duke of Ferrara. But it’s important to think about him, not only as a character, but as a speaker. We need to consider his rhetoric,...


Unlike some lyric poetry, and very much like a play, "My Last Duchess" has a very definite physical and geographical setting: a private art gallery in the palace of the Duke of Ferrara in mid-sixte...

Sound Check

"My Last Duchess" reminds us of an arrogant speech by a witty guy who knows he’s witty. Because it’s written in iambic pentameter, and because it has so many dramatic qualities, it remi...

What's Up With the Title?

The title of "My Last Duchess," like the first few lines of the poem, gives us quite a bit of information about the dramatic scenario in the text. The word "My" clues us in to the fact that the poe...

Calling Card

If you enjoyed the chance to get inside the head of a jealous madman in "My Last Duchess," you’re in luck: Browning several different poems, many of them dramatic monologues, in which he assu...


As nineteenth-century poems go, this certainly isn’t the toughest thing you’re going to encounter. It’s pretty conversational – in fact, it’s half of a conversation. Y...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

Nobody has sex in "My Last Duchess." Instead we get to watch the Duke of Ferrara writhing as he talks about his paranoid suspicion that his wife is having an affair. Even something as harmless as a...

Shout Outs

Neptune (54)Ferrara (epigraph)

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