When her behavior rose, he: “gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. ” Having made this revelation, the Duke returns to the business at hand. He goes on to arrange for another marriage, with another young girl. Browning has more in mind than simply creating a colorful character and placing him in a picturesque historical scene. Rather, the specific historical setting of the poem tells of much significance. The Italian Renaissance held a particular fascination for Browning for it represented the flowering of the aesthetic and the human alongside.
It also reflects the religious and the moral thoughts. Thus the temporal setting allows Browning to explore sex, violence, and aesthetics together. The Duke’s ravings suggest that most of the supposed lapses took place only in his mind. A poem like “My Last Duchess” calculatedly engages its readers on a psychological level. Because we hear only the Duke’s thoughts, we must piece the story together ourselves. Browning forces his reader to become involved in the poem in order to understand it, and this adds to the fun of reading his work.
It also forces the reader to question his or her own response to the subject portrayed and the method of its portrayal. “My Last Duchess” comprises rhyming pentameter lines. The lines do not employ end-stops rather, the sentences and other grammatical units do not necessarily conclude at the end of lines. Consequently, the rhymes do not create a sense of closure when they come, but rather remain a subtle driving force behind the Duke’s compulsive revelations.
The Duke is quite a performer: he imitates others’ voices, creates hypothetical situations, and uses the force of his personality to make horrifying information seem merely colorful. In fine, we can say that the poem provides a classic example of a dramatic monologue: the speaker is clearly distinct from the poet; an audience is suggested but never appears in the poem; and the revelation of the Duke’s character is the poem’s primary aim.