Concise notes about the poem :)

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  • Created by: Emma
  • Created on: 22-05-11 17:50

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The poem is a dramatic monologue about a duke who suggests he
murdered his last duchess because she flirted and did not honour his "400
year old title".
Rhyming and enjambment is used (where the line flows onto the next)
which could suggest his fury but also his carefree attitude, like the fact
her death did not affect him. The enjambment indicates the control that
speaker is exerting on the conversation and give the feeling that the
speaker is rushing through parts of the poem. When the Duke is speaking
of the death of his wife, for example, the lines running over suggest
that he is nervous about the subject.
The repetition of `'that spot of joy'' suggests that this annoyed him. It
reflects how he was jealous that she was not honouring him, and annoyed
that she did not treat him like a `king'.
The poem really engages the reader as we only here the duke's side of
the story, which means we have to piece things together.
The use of iambic pentameter creates a rhythmic flow which could be
seen as a way of conveying the duke's way of thinking and his mind, and
showing the reader that maybe he isn't completely sane.
It is clear that he abused her. Forced her into his submission, forced her to
give him a look that she gave to no one else. However it is apparent that
she did not do this. She gave this "look'' to many other men, much of
which to his despise. And then he reached a point of rage where he
couldn't handle that smile anymore, one of courtesy not of true love, so
he gave commands, and she was killed. Both their smiles stopped. (Hers
because she was dead and his because he was angry, and furious.)


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