My Last Duchess
My Last Duchess
by 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

Iambic Pentameter CoupletsBrowning 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 ap...

Speaker

The Duke of Ferrara 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 cons...

Setting

A Private Art Gallery in the Palace of the Duke of FerraraUnlike some lyric poetry, and very much like a play, "My Last Duchess" has a very definite physical and geographical setting: a private art...

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

A Psychopath Pouring Out His Heart 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 dr...

Tough-O-Meter

(3) Base CampAs 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 co...

Brain Snacks

During his marriage, Robert Browning often took a back seat to his much more famous wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, whose verse novels Aurora Leigh and Sonnets from the Portuguese catapulted her...

Sex Rating

PGNobody 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...

Shout Outs

Mythological References Neptune (54)Historical ReferencesFerrara (epigraph)

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