Summary and composition
In this section of the study guide, we focus on the summary and composition of the poem “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning.
“My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning is a lyrical monologue of the Duke of Ferrara, in front of the portrait of his late wife. The man is describing the portrait and the woman to a listener who does not interfere in his monologue.
In the present, the Duke keeps the painting hidden behind some curtains and he is the only one who has access to it, suggesting that his late wife only smiles for him. The speaker describes his late wife as happy and joyful, not only with him but also with other men. This had bothered the speaker who had ordered his young wife to stop flirting with other men. However, his words are ambiguous, suggesting that he might have also ordered his wife to be killed.
Then, the speaker goes back t...