This essay was about the poetic devices which Robert Browning used to enhance the haunting tone in his dramatic monologue, "My Last Duchess."

Essay by lcboogie12College, UndergraduateA+, March 2003

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Robert Browning sets the tone of "My Last Duchess," by using three significant poetic techniques, one of which is imagery. Browning uses the Duke's monologue to sketch out images in the reader's mind of the Duchess herself, and the sinister personality of the Duke. Browning also uses another key device, which is diction to illustrate the darkness in this poem. Browning's careful word choice adds to the description of the Duchess and perhaps her disgraceful behavior, as well as the Duke's terrifying jealousy, and expectations. Finally, Browning also uses symbolism, which is instrumental in showing the Duke's jealousy, which possibly could have led to the Duchess' demise. Robert Browning is able to achieve a haunting, mysterious, and eerie tone in "My Last Duchess," by using imagery, precise diction, and symbolism.

The imagery in "My Last Duchess," conveys a clear picture in the reader's mind of not only of the Duchess, and her portrait, but also the darkness of the Duke's life.

The Duke begins his soliloquy by saying, "That's my last duchess painted on the wall, / Looking as if she were alive," (1-2) already the reader is hit with the image of the late Duchess' portrait. A mysterious tone lurks as the Duke speaks because the reader now wonders how the Duchess died. As the Duke continues with his speech, he vividly paints a picture of the Duchess. The Duke recounts how the painter, Fra Pandolf compliments her beautiful skin by saying, "Paint / Must never hope to reproduce the faint /Half-flush that dies along her throat" (17-19). As the Duchess blushes at Pandolf's kindness, the Duke's jealousy is building up. As the Duke and his guest make their way downstairs to meet the rest of the company, the Duke says, "Notice Neptune, though / Taming a sea-horse, thought...