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Word Count: 1,980
My Last Duchess Robert Brownings poem My Last Duchess is a splendid poem achieve within the format of the dramatic monologue a poetic form in which there is only one speaker Because there is only one speaker we the reader must wonder carefully what the Duke is telling us and we often have to read between the lines in order to keep an objective perspective on the what is happening in the poem This paper will discuss how the use of the dramatic monologue makes the subject the Duke tell a story while at the same time unintentionally and ironically revealing unflattering characteristics about himself Through diction and imagery Browning further reveals the character of the Duke The style and structure of this poem plays a significant role in the effect of the poem My Last Duchess is written as a dramatic monologue one speaker relates the entire poem as if to another person present with him This format suits this poem particularly well because the speaker the Duke of Ferrara comes across as being very controlling especially in conversation For example he is jealous that he was not able to monopolize his former duchess smiles for himself Dupras 14 He also seems to control the actions of the person he is addressing with comments such as Willt please you rise 47 and Nay well goTogether down sir and his refusal to stoop out of respect to the count 53-54 43 Browning uses many grammatical techniques including a simple rhyme scheme enjambment and caesura to convey various characteristics and qualities about the Duke and the situation The rhyme scheme used is AA BB which is very common to ballads and songs This pattern is called a heroic verse because of the couplets rhyme in an iambic pentameter format The icy ways of the Duke is established through the aa bb rhyme scheme This pattern although imperceptible is unfailing in its contribution to
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