My Last Duchess

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Summary

SUMMARY

- The Duke who narrates the poem, shows an envoy a picture of his previous wife

- The Duke was not happy with his wife because she gave him the same love as anybody else despite all the gifts he gave her

- So the Duke sent her to be silenced

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Structure

STRUCTURE

- a dramatic monologue

- one continuous stanza 

- uses rhyming couplets

- frequent enjambent disguises the rhymes, making it sound musical and conversational

- tone of poem is conversational - which contrasts the horror of what the Duke has done

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Language / Imagery

LANGUAGE / IMAGERY

- heavily ironic, because the Duke describes his wife as a kind,cheerful and loving person while portrays himself as arrogant and vain

- uses hestitations (line 32) which gives Duke an air of bewilderment

- uses brackets (line 9 & 10) - perhaps suggesting secretive

- uses rhetorical questions - (line 34, "wh'd stoop ...) suggests stressing that his belief that he was right to stop this unnecessary gratitude. Telling the reader that the wife was never grateful, never gave him special treatment

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Themes

THEMES

1) Power / Obession / Jealousy 

Duke is jealous that he is not given any special treatment by his wife despite all the gifts he has given. She treats him as though he is the same as anybody else.

2) Relationship

The love between wife and Duke is a battle


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Key Quotes

"Looking as if she were alive" 

- painting being described is very realisitc

- could be a sinsiter revelation

- poet could be asking us how Duchess died

- clarification duchess is dead

"My"

- possesive pronoun

- suggests Duke's jealousy has lead to these disastrous consequences

"Stoop"

- repeated 3 times suggesting Duke's obsession with status and rank

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Key Quotes Continued

"Passion of it's earnest glance "

- contradictory words

- protrays infidelty of the Duchess's part

- passion is a strong sexual word whereas earnest is innocent, which suggests she is cheating on him

"Sir twas not"

- she had a lot of people that liked her

- she was a player


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