Imagery, rhythm and rhyme

In this section, we will turn our attention to imagery, rhythm and rhyme in the poem “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning.


The poetry genre is usually characterised by the use of a wide range of figures of speech and stylistic devices creating imagery. These may include, but are not limited to, metaphors, similes and comparisons, epithets, personification, symbols, repetitions, etc.

Similes and comparisons

Both the Duchess and her painted image are described using similes. The painting is “Looking as if she were alive” (l. 2). The same simile is repeated at the end of the poem when “she stands as if alive” (ll. 46-47). The speaker also associates his interlocutor with a stranger using a simile “Strangers like you” (l. 7). Notice that the similes employed are very simple; comparisons...

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