My Last Duchess: Quote Analysis

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  • My Last Duchess: Quote Analysis
    • Themes and Context
      • The son of a wealthy bank clerk, he didn't fit in as much in London society.
      • He left the country and went to Italy to marry fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett because of her overprotective father.
      • As a result, they were both familiar with over controlling patriarchs in the family as well as Italy itself.
      • The idea of Power and Conflict is shown in the way the speaker (the Duke of Ferrara) is showing off his power and also suggesting the control he had over the Duchess’s life
      • There is also conflict between who he presents or wants himself to be and who he really is as a character. Structure
    • "A heart - how shall I say? - too soon made glad"
      • The rhetorical question in the aside is an indication of a lighter tone and of the duke trying to be more polite.
      • He is actually trying to avoid showing his jealousy and rage, which suggests he is at conflict with himself.
    • "(since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you but I)"
      • Bracketed aside used to show his power by suggesting that it was a rare privilege to see the Duchess in this way.
        • In a way, he was exercising his control over the messenger,
          • Ironic that he feels the need to show off his power - suggests a vulnerability.
    • "She thanked men - good! ... as if she ranked My gift of nine-hundred-years-old name with anybody's gift"
      • The exclamatory fragment in the aside suggests his anger is rising.
        • The verse is also broken with caesuras which emphasises how he is losing control both of his structure and his mind, which suggests a rise in anger.
          • His personality was calm but now it's angry and uncivilised.


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