My Last Duchess
by Robert Browning
Analysis: Sex Rating
Exactly how steamy is this poem?
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 blush or a "spot of joy" in her cheek makes him gnash his teeth. His murderous jealousy seems creepily sexual when we remember that he’s telling the story as part of the wooing process for his next wife.