My Last Duchess

Ferrara

 

That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,

Looking as if she were alive. I call

That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf’s hands

Worked busily a day, and there she stands.

Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said

‘Frà Pandolf’ by design, for never read

Strangers like you that pictured countenance,

The depth and passion of its earnest glance,

But to myself they turned (since none puts by

The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)

And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,

How such a glance came there; so, not the first

Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ’twas not

Her husband’s presence only, called that spot

Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek: perhaps

Frà Pandolf chanced to say ‘Her mantle laps

Over my lady’s wrist too much,’ or ‘Paint

Must never hope to reproduce the faint

Half-flush that dies along her throat’: such stuff

Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough

For calling up that spot of joy. She had

A heart — how shall I say? — too soon made glad,

Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er

She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.

Sir, ’twas all one! My favour at her breast,

The dropping of the daylight in the West,

The bough of cherries some officious fool

Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule

She rode with round the terrace — all and each

Would draw from her alike the approving speech,

Or blush, at least. She thanked men, — good! but thanked

Somehow — I know not how — as if she ranked

My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name

With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame

This sort of trifling? Even had you skill

In speech — (which I have not) — to make your will

Quite clear to such an one, and say, ‘Just this

Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,

Or there exceed the mark’ — and if she let

Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set

Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,

— E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose

Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,

Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without

Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;

Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands

As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet

The company below, then. I repeat,

The Count your master’s known munificence

Is ample warrant that no just pretence

Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;

Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed

At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go

Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,

Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,

Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

Posted in Poetry Blog Tagged with: , , , ,
67 comments on “My Last Duchess
  1. Profile photo of vicky says:

    The poet tells us how the relationship between him and the duchess ends in a sour way due to his jealousy and control. He states “I gave commands ; than all smiles stopped together.” The reader can firstly understand that there is serious tension between the two which then leads on to him becoming more controlling over the duchess and stopping her affairs. This can cause the reader to feel encouraging towards the poets punishment on the duchesses’ adultery as she is in the wrong. On the other hand , they could understand the stopping of the smiles being the end of her life. If so , the reader will feel sympathetic toward the duchess,despite her affairs,as she was the victim to an abusive husband. They are also shocked by the turn the poet took to a woman he once loved. It shows he has a cold aggressive nature and could show that he is indeed trying to warn and scare his new wife of the power he has.

    • Profile photo of jenna says:

      I think you are in Level 4. You have shown clear understanding of the text and also that you can interpret the texts in different scenarios. You have used quotes to link your opinions into the text and discussed each effect on the reader. For a Level 5 I believe you could try to show perceptive understanding of certain words and how these are used to create literary effects. Also, you should aim to make perceptive connections between particular techniques used by the writer and presentation of ideas, themes and settings.

  2. Profile photo of Kerry-Louise Boyne says:

    ‘My last Duchess’ analysis.
    Kerry-Louise Boyne 10Q

    Upon analysis of the poem ‘My last Duchess’ a plethora of further connotations have been revealed. The poet reveals the Duke’s need for power and willingness to dominate the relationship, ‘Notice Neptune though taming a sea-horse’ This depicts that the Duke tried to tame the Duchess as a warning to future wives: he doesn’t want his reputation to be ruined. This has an effect on the reader as it emphasises murder and dehumanises the Duchess by the way he treats her and referring to her as a ‘sea-horse’ and thus makes the violence more acceptable in the Duke’s eyes.
    Alternative analysis is that the poet is referring to the Duke as Neptune which implies to the reader that the Duke has an overruling power on the Duchess. The poem portrays this as Neptune is the powerful king of the sea which could suggest the Duke drowned her due to the reference after her death being closely related to nautical imagery.
    Browning uses alliteration and consonance to unify and structure the lines describing the statue of Neptune. The creepy non sequitur ending to the poem hints at the Duke madness and a symbolic image of domination: the sea-god ‘taming’ something at once beautiful ad absurdly less powerful than himself.

    • Profile photo of Chandler says:

      Level 4, you have a thorough understanding of the language and structure of the poem and how they create effect. Your connections between the quote and discussion link well together. Example is relevant and used an alternative analysis of your point which is band 5 criteria. To improve you should link your point to a technique and how it effects the reader. Also talk about the themes ideas and settings which will be a more original piece of work.
      Chandler Clark

  3. Profile photo of Rhianna Creasey says:

    The Duke’s excessive demand for control comes across as his most defining characteristic. The most obvious point of this was when he described how he murdered his wife. “I gave commands; then all smiles stopped together”. Her crime is not implied as sexual, even though he does admit that other men could draw her “blush,” yet he was driven to murder by her refusal to save her happy glances solely for him. What this could suggest is that the duchess was in fact guilty of greater transgression than he claims that instead of flirtation, she might have physically or sexually betrayed him. There’s certainly no explicit evidence of this, but at the same time, it’s plausible that a man as arrogant as the duke, especially one so equipped with the power of euphemism, would avoid spelling out his disgrace to a lowly representative and instead would speak around the issue. The effect on the reader is that the Duke could come across as arrogant, this is because the duke casually informs the audience about his murder which comes across as if he was boasting over a hunting achievement instead of the murder of his wife. It is more evident through his revelation that the Duke is driven by power, greed and ambition. Also, an alternate explanation to this quotation could be that the Duchess did in fact cheat on her husband; therefore the reader could’ve felt remorse for the Duke as it is a common issue that affects many people in this current era. Due to the duke’s aristocracy, he therefore may have felt that he had to take charge, due to his power. The effect of this could be that the Duke may have been forced to murder the Duchess because of the demands of aristocracy and therefore sins such as adultery could not be tolerated, therefore he may have killed the Duchess in case the secret became public knowledge and the Duke’s reputation was lost. The effect of this on the reader could be that the reader may feel sympathy towards the Duke and believe his actions to be of one who was caught in a terrible dilemma of which there was no ‘clean’ way out.

    • Profile photo of Phoebe Cushion says:

      I think that your work is written to a high standard so I’ve given it a high level 4. There was a lot of advanced vocabulary and an obvious understanding of the text with original ideas present. There were sustained connections made between the poem and the analysis. However, there was a slight lack of structure which made the response somewhat long-winded. To improve try to make clear strong points with evidence to back them up rather than expanding so much on one point. Also, choose more unique quotations to make your work more perceptive and engaging.
      Well done :)

  4. Profile photo of Yasmin Aumeeruddy says:

    Browning is offended by the Duchess as she blushes. “Sir, ‘twas not her husband’s presence only, called that spot of joy into the Duchess’ cheek…” The poet uses the word “spot” to emphasise the negativity of her blushing, however; the word “joy” juxtaposes this as the mark, explained as if it was a blemish, is the result of something positive. The Duke is jealous of Fra Pandolf as the Duchess would take pleasure in someone else and implies this by describing the dimple like a stain. This utterance causes the reader to understand the Duke’s jealousy and express sympathy for him as another man is complimenting his wife or conveying an affectionate gesture that would make her blush. An alternative meaning is that Browning is portraying demand and possession towards his wife. The use of the word “Presence” illustrates how the speaker only felt comfortable when he had ascendancy over the Duchess. The audience may believe that one of the Duke’s distinguishing characteristics is to be controlling and makes the reader think that she was victimised by him.

    • Profile photo of Kerry-Louise Boyne says:

      Assured engagement with the text is evident, sustained connections between particular techniques used by the poet and good presentation of ideas. Thorough understanding of language and unique ideas which are used to creative literary effects.
      To improve use advanced punctuation or think of a few other alternative ideas that other students may not think of; however, this analysis is very good.
      Higher level skill used effectively by single word analysis and referring to the technique used.

  5. Profile photo of Rhianna King says:

    The Duke is portrayed as both a jealous and possessive husband throughout the entire course of the poem; however, his controlling nature is a key characteristic and as such is highlighted within the first ten lines of the poem. The tenth and eleventh line says “But to myself they turned (since none puts by/ The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)” which is explaining that the painting of the Duke’s late Duchess is hidden away behind a curtain thus enabling him to hide her away from the world which could potentially be mirroring his attempts to do the same during their marriage. Also, this curtain he is referring to demonstrates his longing for control and power over all aspects of his life and maybe the reason he is now so intent on being able to determine exactly who is allowed to look at her portrait is because he was unable to do the same for her when she was alive and he is feeling bitter that he was not able to control her as he so clearly wanted to. Alternatively, the use of the curtain could symbolise intimacy or a respect he may have had for his late wife as he still keeps through this painting but as this portrait is most likely part of his own, private gallery it would once again suggest that being controlling and possessive is the nature of the Duke as it seems he wants to keep her portrait as something only he may look upon which causes the reader to wonder how possessive he must have been of her when she was alive if he is that possessive over mere paint in her image- and as such what he may do if anybody dared to break the rules he has clearly set concerning the Duchess both during her life and after her death. Furthermore, the use of the words ‘since none puts by’ shows that for whomever he is addressing, the Duke wants to assert and demonstrate the power he has even in minor events as who is able to look at a painting and by the use of ‘but I’ indicates that although he believes there should be limitations and rules for others to follow, he believes himself to be the exception to those rules which is an attitude that he may take to all other aspects of his life.

    • Jake says:

      Band 5

      Fantastic range of ideas and expansion on one quotation. A clear understanding of how the language is effective.

      To improve, you could zoom in on a singular word in the quotation, and present different ideas about it.

  6. Tommy Mechell says:

    In my last Dutchess the quotation ‘all smiles stopped’ portrays how the dutchess used to smile at a lot of men, but now she is dead, so she cannot, this also highlights murder and how the duke has so much power that he see’s murder as an acceptable thing if he has a reason to kill. This shows the reader the Dukes power and makes the reader acknowlage that. The use of ‘all smiles stopped’ could also portray her death, as she stopped breathing her never ending smile stopped. This could also make the reader feel the Dukes pain and the reader may be able to feel the pain of the idea of being cheated on from previous experiances

    • Profile photo of vicky says:

      There is a clear engagement with the text to support your ideas with a further quote for evidence which is thoroughly relevant. Clear understanding of language and the techniques used and some analysis of how they affect the reader. I like the idea you’ve used and how you perceive it in two slightly different ways , but to improve this I would advice a deeper analysis of the quote and maybe a bit more on how if affects the reader.

  7. Profile photo of Sofia says:

    In My Last Duchess, the author refers to a mark on the duchess’ face that only appears when she is with her husband. ‘Her husband’s presence only, called that spot / Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek’ Browning here uses caesura to emphasise ‘the spot Of joy’ and also makes it seem like what is going to be followed next is going be important and personal. The spot that Browning mentions is a dimple which shows that the duchess is always smiling and therefore a cheerful person because dimples only show when you’re smiling or laughing which makes it hard for her to hide her emotions especially if she is happy; however, when people think of a spot, the sort of thing that comes to mind is imperfection, unpleasant, a blemish and also small which can also mean that she doesn’t smile that often and may not be happy most of the time. Furthermore, the spot juxtaposes the rest of lines 13-15 in the poem because a spot is seen as such a negative to have whereas a dimple is seen as the complete opposite.

    • Hannah Gillespie says:

      Your PQD is very good and descriptive, you delve deeply into the issues of the poem and manage to read in-between the lines. I think you are a high band 4 and verging onto band 5.
      To improve:
      Try to mention techniques and perceptive connections made between particular techniques used by the writer and presentation of ideas, themes and settings.
      Try to use a different word than ‘shows’ as you use it quite a lot of times throughout your PQD .e.g. conveys, portrays, demonstrates, displays etc…

  8. Profile photo of Jack Howard says:

    There is a substantial use of euphemism. The way he explains that he had the duchess killed – “I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together” – shows a facility for avoiding the truth through choice of language. What this could suggest is that the duchess was in fact guilty of greater transgression than he claims, that instead of flirtation, she might have physically or sexually betrayed him. There’s certainly no explicit evidence of this, but at the same time, it’s plausible that a man as arrogant as the duke, especially one so equipped with the power of euphemism, would avoid spelling out his disgrace to a lowly envoy and instead would speak around the issue.

    • Profile photo of Georgina King says:

      Your work is very analytical and explains, in depth, the connotations of the phrase. I think the vocabulary you have used is appropriate and makes your work sound well structured. I would give your work a Level 4.

      To improve I think you should extend your analysis by explaining another meaning of the phrase you chose, or explaining the effect such connotations have on the reader. Making a perceptive analysis of the techniques/ structure used by the author and the effect these have on the reader will extend your work to a Level 5.

  9. Charlie says:

    The duchess is looking at other men more and more as their marriage progresses “same smile? This grew”. The word “grew” symbolises how the smiling at other men became more and more often and progressed during the duration of their marriage. the word “same” shows the repetition of the duchess’ actions and the duke becoming tired and frustrated with it. The reader feels sympathy for the duke because of the duchess’ actions however the reader is blind to the fact that the duke is actually a cold blooded killer. The quote “same smile?This grew” also symbolises how the love of the duke for the duchess grows all the time. However the word “same” shows that the duke is getting frustrated by the duchess’ actions and wants them to end no matter what. The reader feels romance because the love of the duke to the duchess.

  10. Ellie says:

    Within the poem it suggests how the Duchess is easily pleased because she doesn’t value herself and has low self esteem so she accepts any compliment given to her. ‘A heart- how shall I say? – too soon made glad’, this conveys how The author of the poem illustrates caesura to denote doubtful breaks from fluent speech. The effect on the reader from this quote can make them feel empathy towards the Duchess hence how she does not value herself so she results in taking any compliment implied to her. An alternative explanation of this quote could be how the Duke may be glad that she died soon, this may be because of how the poem contrasts how she smiled at not only him and then suddenly ‘all smiles stopped’. This may have an additional effect on the reader that it makes them see another side to the Duke that hr may of wanted to get rid of the Duchess and may of potentially killed her himself.

    • Profile photo of Mr Bentley Mr Bentley says:

      Did you set up an account? If not, you sign up and then copy and paste this in to another comment.

      Thanks

    • Profile photo of Jack Howard says:

      Great PQD, very well written piece. It is a very accurate and interesting interpretation of My Last Duchess. You analysed each quote very well and I believe that this piece deserves a band 4, maybe a band 5.
      To Improve: You could analyse more perceptively and develop ideas more coherently.
      Well Done.

  11. Chandler Clark says:

    The Duke begins to portray his inner jealousy in the middle of the poem. The poem is defined by possession and a sense of control which later leads to violence. “’twas not Her husband’s presence only, called the spot Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek” here this can be interpreted that the Duke abused his wife/lover which caused a scar on her face in which he is referring to as the ‘spot of joy’. Joy being the word that only the Duke calls it, as he may enjoy or get a thrill out of abussive behaviour he may of also done this so that no other man would look at her or think that she is beautiful. This affects the reader as they begin to believe the Duke may be mentally unstable and has a lot of insecurities and trust issues. However it also implies that alternatively it could be saying that the spot is a dimple that you get when you’re really happy and the Duchess only got it when she in the presence of other men. So when the duke couldn’t get a dimple out of her, he killed her cause he’s not making her happy.

    • Profile photo of Mr Bentley Mr Bentley says:

      Did you set up an account? If not,can you sign up and then copy and paste this in to another comment.

      Thanks

    • charlie says:

      band 5 it was a very good explanation and showed your understanding of the poem in detail. To improve comment on the structure of the poem and the punctuation of the poem.

    • Profile photo of charlie says:

      band 5 good explanation and showed your understanding well in detail. To improve comment on the effect of the structure and punctuation.

  12. Profile photo of amy p says:

    From the poem, we learn that the Duchess was unhappy in her marriage. The phrase “A heart-how shall I say?-too soon made glad,” Uses ceasura to portray ho she was usually miserable so she is easily pleased. The use of ceasura also breaks down the line which indicates how the Duke and Duchess’s marriage had issues and problems.
    Furthermore the quote also highlights how the Duchess may lack in self esteem and therefore took any compliment. It also leaves an impression on the reader that the Duke was almost glad that she was dead. The reader feels sympathy for the Duchess as, although she leads a privileged lifestyle, she doesn’t value herself and is mistreated by her husband.

    • Profile photo of Evelina Peterson says:

      There are some good ideas included in your paragraph. I like how you have described the caesura in the poem, because it shows intelligence of language techniques. Also, I think you have described the relationship between the Duke and the Duchess very well. To improve, you could add a quotation when explaining the duchess has ‘low self-esteem’, to make it more clear about which part of the poem you are mentioning.

  13. Profile photo of Evelina says:

    The Duke is offended, how the Duchess would take pleasure in anything other but him. “Sir, ‘twas not her husband’s presence only, called that a spot of joy into the duchess’ cheek”. Here, the ‘spot of joy’ could imply a dimple, which is present when smiling, implying that the duchess has a cheerful character. However, the use of juxtaposition is present, as a ‘spot’ could also be seen as a blemish or imperfection, giving the idea that the duchess is not all perfect, and may be hiding something from her husband. It wasn’t just ‘her husband’s presence’ that made her blush in this way; the Duke is adamant to believe that he should be the only one, and doesn’t like the way that anyone either than himself may compliment his wife.

    • Profile photo of Brooke Roberts says:

      I think your work is a level 3 or 4. You have show a clear understanding of language, structure and form on how these are used to create literary effects. You also have sustained connections made between particular techniques used by the writer and presentation of ideas, themes and settings. To improve and move on the a secure level 4 or a level 5 make sure an assured engagement with the text is evident, examples used are discriminating. Looking for the most effective quotes that for in well and allow you to explain in depth can help you do this.

  14. Profile photo of Hayley Harrison says:

    The Dukes’ possessive and domineering nature is prominent throughout the poem and thus proposes a clarification and understanding to his infuriation with his Duchess. He believes that she is an object which belongs entirely to him and he controls. “As if she ranked/My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name/With anybody’s gift” As a man of such high prestige he expects his Duchess to be persistently obliged and appreciative to him by worshiping and dedicating herself solely to him. It is conveyed that the Duchess should have considered herself fortunate to have been partnered with somebody who had so much wealth and social status to offer to the marriage which portrays the Dukes’ arrogant characteristic. We can also see that over time the lack of attention he was receiving from his Duchess and the point when “twas not/Her husband’s presence only, called that spot/ Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek” enraged him. There is plausible evidence to suggest that he committed violent acts upon the Duchess as a result of her unfaithfulness. Whether or not the Duchess did verbally or sexually betray her husband is irrelevant however what is important is that we see a more vulnerable side to the Duke. Despite that detail that he “gave commands/Then all smiles stopped together” and he imagined as a man striving for revenge on a woman who only brought embarrassment and shame upon him; he is conveyed as a man who is being eaten by jealousy perhaps building upon his paranoia and insecure persona.

    • Profile photo of Alfie says:

      Band 4/5 it was a very detailed explanation and you also showed a good understanding of the poem.
      To improve you good mention some of the poets techniques and explain their effect.

  15. Jenna says:

    Throughout the poem ‘The Last Duchess’ the duke successfully demonstrates his strong feelings for the duchess. Much of the poem shows how the duke wanted to be the only person, the only object, of her affection. However phrases such as “too easily impressed; she looked on, and her looks went everywhere” imply that the duchess was not tamed by her husbands possessive nature and lived to her own rules. This powerful phrase tells us as the reader that the duchess could be a promiscuous lady as she is connoted to look upon many men in an unfaithful manner. This also could be linked back further to the phrase “the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat”. This phrase is extremely ambiguous however I feel that it is relating to the two being in a violent relationship which could be down to the duchess’ promiscuous behaviour. Furthermore, the first quote “too easily impressed; she like whatever she looked on, and her looks went everywhere” could also be referring to an admiration of beauty in the world and a dreams for experiences which with the duke she could not fulfil. This could also be put down to the dukes possessive attitude towards his wife and his need for her undivided attention. These two ideas are completely different however they both portray the duchess to have a fascinating and independent personality.

    • Profile photo of amy p says:

      Band 4/5.
      It is a really good paragraph showing clear understanding of the text. It’s really detailed and well written.
      To improve – You could write about caesura and other writing techniques.

  16. Profile photo of Katie says:

    The Duke displays evident feeling of jealousy as he suspects his wife of committing adultery. Despite his strong suspicions, he is reluctant to confront his wife. “Herself be lessened so… and made excuse,/ E’en then would be some stopping; and I choose/ Never to stoop” Her being lessened is describing the act of her promiscuity and the Duke feels that upon confrontation, his wife would deny any wrongdoing so he is reluctant to question her acts as he does not wish to be embarrassed or portrayed as less powerful than previously. The writer uses repetition to enforce his strong and stubborn attitude towards her promiscuity. The reader feels sympathy for the Duke as he appears to be a victim who has remained respectful and diplomatic yet they may also feel suspicious as to why the Duchess may have desired to cheat on his so may question the reasoning for her desire for promiscuity. The phrase “and made excuse” may be referring to the Duke and how he is making excuses not to confront his wife; this could be due to his love for her as he does not wish to lose her nor does he wish to be discredited of his authority by remaining with the Duchess with the knowledge of her adultery. The reader shares in the Duke’s evident love for the Duchess but also questions his overall power as he seems to be under her control since remaining with her whilst knowing she has humiliated him.

    • Profile photo of Sophie Thomas says:

      Good engagement and interpretation of the text and the language used by the author. Strong, detailed analysis of how language is used and the effect on the reader. Good connections between various lines and ideas expressed throughout the poem.

      To improve try to add another interpretation of the quotations used and how they may have a different effect on the reader.

  17. Profile photo of Sophie Thomas says:

    Throughout the poem, the Duke portrays many aspects of his personality and character. One major feature of his personality is possesivness and insecurity towards his ‘Last Duchess’.
    In the first line of the poem and the title he states ‘my last Duchess’, from this, the word ‘my’ shows that he felt that she belonged to him and was his to control.
    Further on in the poem, the Duke describes how the Duchess ‘looked on, and her looks went everywhere’, this suggests that she was unfaithful to him and lustfully looked at other men. From this we also see the trait of jealousy from the Duke whom, being possesive wants her lust to be focused exclusivly on himself. This ‘lust’ in which the Duchess held for others appears to be something in which the Duke could not control, thus the poem then appearing as if he had to do something to prevent her being unfaithful; to the reader this appears as the possible murder of the Duchess?
    The Duke also states that he has a curtain in which he ‘has drawn’ for the Duchess. Now that the Duchess only exists via the wall painting, this could suggest that he has finaly found a way in which he can control the Duchess? By having a cutain over her picture so making her smile appear only when he wants to and not to the other men in which made her smile before.

    • Profile photo of Yasmin Aumeeruddy says:

      Band 5

      You have written a detailed paragraph and have shown a clear understanding of language, structure and form. You have also described how these are used to create literacy.

      To improve, make connections between particular techniques.

  18. Profile photo of Phoebe Cushion says:

    The Duke is exasperated by the fact that he is not the only person who makes the Duchess happy. He is incredibly possessive of her and does not want her to show affection to anyone but him.“Sir, ‘twas not her husband’s presence only, called that a spot of joy into the duchess’ cheek.” The spot of joy the Duke is referring to could be a dimple that is appearing because the Duchess is smiling, as she is happy. “Called that spot of joy” implies that the Duchess was not always happy, which makes the reader feel sympathy towards her and wonder why she is so miserable. ” ‘Twas not her husband’s presence only” conveys that other men were making the Duchess happy. This infuriates the Duke, and because he is highly arrogant, he does not understand why the Duchess would desire anyone else but him. “As if she ranked my gift of a nine hundred-years-old-name with anybody’s gift,” conveys that the Duke sees his status in society as something precious that many women would want and thinks that the Duchess should worship him and be extremely grateful as he has given her the “gift”. However, the Duke feels that the Duchess ranks his “with anybody’s gift” which depicts that the Duchess is not a shallow person who values things such as social statuses but rather approves of anyone who is kind to her. This makes the reader feel affection towards the Duchess as she seems very innocent and vulnerable.

    • Profile photo of Sofia says:

      Band 5
      Your paragraph is very detailed and you’ve analysed in depth and you have included lots examples and alternative interpretations.
      To improve you could talk about techniques such as caesura.

  19. Profile photo of Brooke Roberts says:

    Browning gives the duke a strong sense of jealousy as he employs the need and strong desire to withhold the entirety of the duchesses affection, however the poem makes it apparent that he, although her husband, is not the only male she awards with attention. “Oh sir she smiled, no doubt whenever I passed her; but who passed with out much the same smile?” The use of no doubt implies her gift of a smile is a regular thing the duke receives, however when the poem then goes on to explain these smiles are not simply a kind gesture toward a marriage partner, but a dispassionate act distributed to whom ever does just an inadequate thing as pass her, his act of craving her attention is understood. The use of advanced punctuation is effectively included to quickly change the dukes situation from positive to negative as well as changing the sentence. The reader feels sympathy for the duke as the attention from the one women he should he guaranteed it from, his wife, is being seized away from him by any man due to her incredibly low standards. Although this quote can be interpreted as the Duchess treating the duke carelessly and living along the path that would lead her on to the act of adultery it could also be read as the Duchess being a content women. A women so content with her life and her marriage that she can not help a smile being displayed on her face, despite the audience of the action not being her husband.

    • Profile photo of Katie Scott says:

      Level 4

      GOOD POINTS: Sustained engagement with the text is evident as you have focused on individual phrases (although try to make sure these are in quotation marks) and you have displayed a thorough understanding of the poem and its meanings, along with the structure and the writers reasoning for including certain types of punctuation. You have offered alternate interpretations where possible.

      TARGET: To improve, try to make your analysis more concise as the long sentences are sometimes difficult for the reader to follow. Attempting to separate alternative interpretations by beginning a new sentence or through the use of a semi-colon.

      Well done Brooke.

  20. Profile photo of Georgina says:

    Throughout the poem ‘The Last Duchess’, it becomes evident that the relationship between the duchess and the duke was that of a violent nature. The first evidence of this is when the duke says “faint/ Half-flush that dies along her throat”. This denotes a slight change of skin tone possibly caused by a shadow; however, the Duke is a forceful man who- similar to aristocrats of this time- would have been in power and attempted to control his wife. We grow further aware of his violent mannerisms when he says “I gave commands;/ Then all smiles stopped together”. First, you would assume the Duchess was displeased being given commands by the Duke and her refusal to smile was how she displayed this disapproval. However, the duchess’ living existence is not mentioned further which implies this was the termination of her life, not just of her happiness.

    • Profile photo of Rhianna King says:

      Band 4
      This is a good paragraph because you have used examples by quoting and you clearly have offered connections and interpretations.
      To improve you could talk about caesura and you could offer alternative interpretations for all the quotes used.

  21. Profile photo of Felicity Hale says:

    In ‘My Last Duchess’ It becomes apparent that the narrator is someone of high wealth and means as he describes wife companion a piece of artwork, and how it came into his possession, which shows he is very proud and quite obsessive with the lady in the painting, his last wife. “That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,/Looking as if she were alive. I call/That piece a wonder, now. Fr Pandolf’s hands/Worked busily a day, and there she stands”. While talking about the painting, it implies he has pride over the work. The Duke emphasis’ the fact that it wait painted by Fra Pandolf, presumably he was a well know, talented, artist at the time, for the reason of mentioning his name so often. However, the way the Narrator skims over the subject of the portrait, his “last duchess,” betrays some aspects of his personality. It portrays to the reader both that he has had and lost his wife, and that he does not seem particularly aggrieved by his loss. The Duke, within his first line of speech, reveals him to be vain and a very selfish man, who views his Duchess’ death as a ‘good’ thing and unconcerned on the passing, as if she is an object of his own who can be easily replaced by another, which then carry’s on to the next stages of the poem.

    • Profile photo of Hayley Harrison says:

      There are some good ideas discussed here; the Duchess being an object that can be replaced and the Duke not being aggrieved by the loss of his Duchess. Relevant quotes have been used to support the points and there is a consistent use of good literature. To improve, perhaps zoom in on specific words in the poem or from the chosen quote and explain the effect of using them.

  22. Profile photo of Lauren McCorkell says:

    ‘My Last Duchess’ is a poem with very hidden messages as to understand quite what is going on you have to read into the poem with depth. What strikes me the most after looking deeper into the poem is how the Duke seemed to be violent with his Duchess and how Fra Pandolf hid that in his painting. “Fra Pandolf chanced to say ‘Her mantle laps/Over my lady’s wrist too much,’. This is evidence of the way the painter chose to question about why the Duchess would hide her wrists. Maybe she was not abused by her husband but self-harmed herself you may ask. However, the poem goes on to say how Fra Pandolf also says “‘Paint/ Must never hope to reproduce the faint/Half-flush that dies along her throat'” implying to the reader that the Duke may have strangled her, in an argument or otherwise. He was so violent to the point that he left her marks round her throat. This has an effect on the reader as they begin to really see how bad this marriage was and how the Duke was a very controlling husband.

    • Profile photo of Tommy Mechell says:

      Band 5

      Great explanation with some fantastic points by quoting and have made some great interpretations.

      To improve you should talk about the use of techniques e.g. caesura

  23. Profile photo of Alfie says:

    In the poem ‘My last duchess’ it is evident that the Duke was violent and in the end killed his wife “I gave commands Then all smiles stopped altogether.” This demonstrates that he ordered someone to kill his wife because she used to smile and flirt with other men with suggests she was made to marry the Duke for social status because she doesn’t love him. The poem also suggests that she could have been hung. “There she stands as if alive.” This shows that if she was hung then she was left there to make sure she is dead. It is further proven earlier in the poem. “Half-Flush that dies along her throat” this demonstrates that the Duke used violence in the relationship and targeted her throat before just he did when he organised her death.

    • Profile photo of Ellie says:

      Your work is at a good standard and you are clear with your ideas presented. You have used a clear understanding of language, structure and gave a good understanding of the quotes explanation and also for the alternative explanations. I give you a Level 3, to go up to the higher levels, you could of gave an effect on the reader and connected the techniques used by the writer. also pick more unique quotations to show a wider knowledge of the poem and the story portrayed throughout.

    • Profile photo of Ellie says:

      Your work is at a good standard and you are clear with your ideas presented. You have used a clear understanding of language, structure and gave a good understanding of the quotes explanation and also for the alternative explanations. I give you a Level 3, to go up to the higher levels; you could have given an effect on the reader and connected the techniques used by the writer. Also pick more unique quotations to show a wider knowledge of the poem and the story portrayed throughout.

  24. Profile photo of Hannah Gillespie says:

    Throughout “My Last Duchess”, the Duke is very much the green-eyed monster. He is jealous of the attention his wife shows to other people, even if all she does is thank them for bringing her some cherries. Every smile and every blush that she bestows, intentionally or unintentionally, on someone else makes him flash with jealousy. He’s so envious that he can’t even bring himself to talk to her about her behaviour; murder is the only solution he can come up with. His envy isn’t just about romantic attention; it’s about any kind of attention. The evidence of this is when the dukes says “Sir, t’was not her husband’s presence only, called that spot of joy into the Duchess’ cheek.” This conveys that the Duke is offended that the Duchess would take pleasure in anything other than him. However, as the poem continues you notice that the ways she shows her pleasure is involuntary for example, a blush. But, the Duke describes it as though it were a stain or taint, a “spot of joy.” This could suggest that the Duke is jealous of the way the Duchess treats other people, not because he loves her and wants all her love for himself, but because he wants her to acknowledge his power over her.

    • Profile photo of Felicity Hale says:

      I believe your work is of a good standard and you have made some good and clear points that you have backed up well. Due to this I would give you a high level 4/nearly a level 5. Some varied ideas used that may not have been originally thought of before. You have used good language and structure throughout. Pick some more unique quotations in the future to back up the storyline even more. Next time also mention some techniques used in the writing, but overall a very good response.

      Well done :)

  25. Profile photo of Jake Leggat says:

    This probably is not the best time of the day to be writing a PQD, but here goes:

    The title of the poem gives us an insight to the dramatic scenario in the text. ‘My Last Duchess’ The lexis on display allows the reader to consider what will happen in the poem, as well as informing them who the poet is. The word ‘My’ clues us in to the fact that the poem is going to be in the first person; therefor we can suggest that that it is going to be personal to the character, and they may well release a lot of their emotions. Additionaly, ‘My’ has controlling connotations, so we could be lead to believe that the character is possesive and demanding before even looking through the poem. The word ‘Last’ implies that there was more than one Duchess, and that the one he is speaking about is actually the most recent.However, ‘Duchess’ sheds the most information, as a Duchess would be married to a Duke, who is a potential writer of the poem. This means that the Duchess’ life would have been dictated by the Duke, so we can already see how awkward and unstable this relationship could have been. This foreshadows the events that later on occur.

    • Profile photo of Lauren McCorkell says:

      You fully explain the title of the poem giving alternative and varied explanations for different elements of it. The work that you have written portrays a sustained engagement with the text as you refer to later events. The PQD also flows really well as you lead different ideas into one another. Maybe you could have quoted another part of the poem to link different ideas together but overall you wrote it well.
      I would say your PQD lies between a level 3 and level 4 because of having higher level sustainment in different elements.
      Your target for your next paragraph would be to talk about effects on the reader and the literary techniques used however your analysis was good. For a different quote try and comment on structure. Well Done

  26. Profile photo of Meg Abery says:

    In the line “that spot of joy into the Duchess’ cheek” from the poem ‘My Last Duchess’ The phase juxtaposes its self. The use of the phrase “Spot of joy” conveys that she has dimples which invades the perfection of her confection. It also describes that she is unable to hide her hidden happiness from the world around her. However with her dimples being described as a ‘spot’ can illustrate that they are small which implies that she is not happy the majority of the time. Furthermore, it can also suggest that it is unpleasant because it is being compared to a ‘spot’ This makes the reader feel confused as it is being described differently. It also makes the reader understand that the Duke had not made the Duchess happy that’s why its only small. This has backed up my point of the juxoposition through out the phrase.

    • Profile photo of Cara Jackson says:

      High band 4

      Sustained engagement with the text is clear, pieces of the text which are used are relevant, demonstrates a well rounded understanding of the poem. To improve use a wider range of quotes from the text.

  27. Profile photo of jenna says:

    Throughout the poem ‘The Last Duchess’ the duke successfully demonstrates his strong feelings for the duchess. Much of the poem shows how the duke wanted to be the only person, the only object, of her affection. However phrases such as “too easily impressed; she looked on, and her looks went everywhere” imply that the duchess was not tamed by her husbands possessive nature and lived to her own rules. This powerful phrase tells us as the reader that the duchess could be a promiscuous lady as she is connoted to look upon many men in an unfaithful manner. This also could be linked back further to the phrase “the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat”. This phrase is extremely ambiguous however I feel that it is relating to the two being in a violent relationship which could be down to the duchess’ promiscuous behaviour. Furthermore, the first quote “too easily impressed; she like whatever she looked on, and her looks went everywhere” could also be referring to an admiration of beauty in the world and a dreams for experiences which with the duke she could not fulfil. This could also be put down to the dukes possessive attitude towards his wife and his need for her undivided attention. These two ideas are completely different however they both portray the duchess to have a fascinating and independent personality.

  28. Profile photo of Caroline Shellard says:

    Throughout the poem ‘My last duchess’ the duke refers to his last wife. The relationship is portrayed in a very strange way, with a lot of sexual connotations. “That stop of joy on the Duchess’ cheek” the joy could be his happiness, so his semen on her cheek because the night before got a bit ‘messy’. Also “she thanked men – good!” could illustrate to us that his wife was promiscuous and thanked a lot of men with sexual favours.

    • Profile photo of Camille says:

      I think you could sustain and develop your analysis by giving an alternative meaning for the quote. You could also give a more straight-forward meaning and discuss it in more depth.
      Band 3
      well done

  29. Profile photo of Jessica mccullagh says:

    Through out ‘My Last Duchess’ the duke infers a strange relationship with his wife the duchess. “Half-flush that dies along her throat” This infers a theme of violence within the poem. The marks could be from were he had held her throat and inflicted violence upon the duchess, so that he could have a sense of control. By using the word “along” it implies that he held her by the throat more than once and that there were marks left on her. On the other hand the word “dies” conveys that he has not put his hands on her next for a long time because the marks are dying and fading away.

  30. Profile photo of Deana says:

    ‘My Last Duchess Analysis’ (sorry it’s a bit late)!

    Within the poem ‘My Last Duchess’ it is evident that the duke is greatly affected by the attention his wife seeks from other men, and is deeply distressed in their relationship. The sentence ‘There she stands As if alive.’ conveys that the duke may already now have killed his wife. The phrase ‘as if’ highlights that there may be a sensation of doubt whether the duchess truly did love the duke, or was using him to gain more importance within society. Additionally it may also represent abuse taking place in the relationship, as the poem proceeds the duke becomes more and more angry ‘Nay, we’ll go Together, down’ implying that he has already rid of his wife for the insecurity that she has caused him to feel.

  31. Profile photo of Cara Jackson says:

    The title of the poem “My Last Duchess” declares that the poem was written via someone of a certain social standing, a dukes perspective. As the poet has selected his vocabulary wisely the use of the word “last” suggests that the duke has had numerous duchesses, this could all be perceived as the duke also speaking as a widower.

    Robert Browning the poet begins his poem by addressing his audience asking them to view a portrait of his last duchess, he continues further describing the duchess “too soon made glad… she liked whate’er she looked on, and her looks went everywhere” this advises us of his Duchesses promiscuous antiques, this brings about the query that perhaps the Duke was paranoid as his Duchess would be physically unable to have an affair with every single man her glance fell upon.

  32. Profile photo of Camille says:

    Throughout the poem the duke speaks of the duchess in a possessive manner. After the duke speaks about how easily impressed she was the tone of the poem changes to a rather aggressive one.
    “She thanked men;- good! but thanked
    Somehow- I know not how”

    The Duke suggests that it’s good to thank people for doing things for you. However, the way the Duchess thanked people seemed to imply that she thought the little favours they did her were just as important as what the Duke himself did for her. He thinks this because afterwards he speaks about his nine hundred year old name and his status.

    Another analysis of the quote reveals a completely different meaning. Thanking the men good could mean the duchess was being promiscuous with other men and having affairs. However, we can sense his uncertainty on whether she actually was or not by him saying “I know not how”. In line 28 the poem also says “the bough of cherries of some officious fool” which could be understood as other men experiencing her cherry and having sexual experiences with the duchess. This gives evidence for her thanking men “good”.

    • Profile photo of Caroline Shellard says:

      Band 4/5
      It is very good and sustained engagement with the text is evident, examples used are thoroughly relevant. The depth you went into makes very good sense and perceptive understanding of language, structure and form.

  33. Profile photo of Sophie says:

    In the poem ‘My Last Duchess’ it is clear that the Duke was a possessive, controlling man. From the lines ‘Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere’, Browning highlights the fact that the Duchess often looked at other men and was not faithful to him. Perhaps because the Duke did not satisfy her. The extreme jealousy displayed by the Duke could also be due to a troubled childhood, where important yet busy parents lead to him receiving little attention as a child. As a result of this he now feels that he needs the Duchess’s full affection, as a way of trying to make up for everything he didn’t receive in previous years. Furthermore the Duke’s speech is highly formalized, using strict rhyme and meter to organize itself into couplets (AABBCC etc.). He’s a man who appreciates control and will use aggression to achieve this. This is demonstrated by the fact that the Duke’s sentences do not finish in cohesion with the end of the lines – showing that perhaps he is struggling to remain in control (perhaps of the Duchess’s actions).

  34. Profile photo of Ellie says:

    Within the poem it suggests how the Duchess is easily pleased because she doesn’t value herself and has low self-esteem so she accepts any compliment given to her. ‘A heart- how shall I say? – too soon made glad’, this conveys how the author of the poem illustrates caesura to denote doubtful breaks from fluent speech. The effect on the reader from this quote can make them feel empathy towards the Duchess hence how she does not value herself so she results in taking any compliment implied to her. An alternative explanation of this quote could be how the Duke may be glad that she died soon, this may be because of how the poem contrasts how she smiled at not only him and then suddenly ‘all smiles stopped’. This may have an additional effect on the reader that it makes them see another side to the Duke that he may of wanted to get rid of the Duchess and may of potentially killed her himself.

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