My Last Duchess
by Robert Browning
Analysis: 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 dramatic monologues, in which he assumes the voice of a psychopathic speaker. As in "My Last Duchess," Browning tends to balance his complete immersion in the voice and mind of the madman with his own subtle moral perspective on the poem. If you want to hear the voice of a man who strangles his lover with her own hair, or a masochistic self-proclaimed saint, or a monk who plots the demise of one of his fellow brothers, Browning is the author for you. We recommend you read "Porphyria’s Lover," "St. Simeon Stylites," and "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister" next. Oh, and don’t plan to read any of them over a meal, either. Unless you want to get sick.