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My Last Duchess

My Last Duchess

by Robert Browning

Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. (45-46)

Although the Duke doesn’t want to communicate with the Duchess directly about her indiscriminate kindness, he sets up an alternate, indirect line of communication in order to bring about her murder. This other path of communication depends on an underling who will hear and carry out the Duke’s orders. The implied murder of the Duchess turns the Duke’s commands into performative language.

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