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Word Count: 668
The first line of Robert Brownings My Last Duchess presents us the reader with the essence of the poem Thats my last Duchess painted on the Wall With these first words we see that the narrator is telling a story to someone about his deceased love However we must continue to read and analyze the writing to answer some key questions such as who is the narrator is the narrator reliable why is the speaker telling the story and what is the setting of the story We will take a closer look at the answers to these questions and more throughout this essay The narrator of My Last Duchess is Browning presenting himself as Alfonso II Duke of Ferrara who lived in 16th century Italy Due to the fact that we know when and where Alfonso II lived we can also deduce the general time frame and location of the poem The narrator is describing not only the shortcomings of his deceased wife but also her beauty Alfonso is telling this story to an agent who is negotiating the Dukes second marriage to the niece of the Count of Tyrol They are walking through the dukes home when the Duke pulls back the curtain revealing the picture of his Last Duchess Lines 9 and 10 By keeping the curtain drawn on the painting of the Duchess Alfonso limits her scope to himself and a few privileged others Upon seeing the Duchess the agent comments on the interesting expression on her face the duke says he is not the first to mention the joyous blush Lines 11 through 13 Alfonso explains to the agent that the woman in the painting was his Last Duchess The Duke in an attempt to allude the reader into feeling sorry for him recounts a list of criticisms about the former duchess The duke criticizes the Duchess for the lovely smile she bestowed on everyone Lines 13 through 15 her courtesy
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