Tuesday, July 21, 2015
The Tuesday Poem
The Tuesday Poem this week is "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning, selected by Helen Lowe: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.co.nz/2015/07/my-last-duchess-by-robert-browning-1812.html
My Last Duchess has long been one of my favourite poems. It is a fine example of a narrative poem, i.e. one that tells a story, but also of dramatic monologue, where the character of the Duke and his relationship to his last Duchess are subtly expanded through the length of the poem. The poem is also significant for the way in which it exposes the Duke’s character, without commentary – particularly the chilling way in which the Duke reduces his wife to an object, like any of his other works of art, together with the implication that he has had her murdered for smiling at those other than him. In terms of poetic technique, My Last Duchess is also a masterly example of using end rhyme, i.e. it is written in rhyming couplets while still managing to sound like conversational speech. A master work at a number of levels.