How Are Feelings Shown in My Last Duchess?

What is concealed and revealed by the Duke? In the poem My Last Duchess, a large variation of feelings and emotions are expressed. They are expressed using various techniques, such as alliteration, rhetorical questions and many more. I am going to explain how feelings are expressed in parts of the poem and also what is shown and revealed by the Duke in My Last Duchess. One of the main feelings which are portrayed in the poem is jealousy.

The evidence I have found in the poem where this feeling is expressed is where it says- “Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile? ” To emphasise the jealousy many different techniques have been used. The first technique is short sentences- in my opinion this shows that the Duke has many different emotions running through his mind. The word ‘But’ shows that there is a negative aspect to the situation, another well used technique in this quote is the use of a question mark.

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This makes the last part of the quote a rhetorical question, by making it a rhetorical question it shows he is looking back and remembering that she smiled at everybody the same way she used to smile at him. This question also implies that he was jealous that the Duchess used to smile at everyone in the same way and when she smiled at him it was not anything special. In my opinion, in this part of the poem he is filled with doubt about whether she loved the Duke or not.

Also at the beginning of the sentence it is as if he is thinking positively about the good times but halfway through he changes his mind and realises that there was no hope at all for a successful relationship. By saying this quote it is showing that the Duke was a selfish person and he was greedy and desperate for the Duchess’s love and was jealous when she showed any kind of affection to anybody else. However, jealousy is not the only emotion expressed by the Duke. Another common emotion is being naive.

Such as in this quote- ‘Or blush, at least. She thanked men,- good! ut thanked-‘ From this quote it shows that he was emotionally unable to handle circumstances where she showed even the slightest bit of affection for anyone else. Many techniques in this quote suggest he was naive. Such as, first of all, the hyphen shows that he paused as if to think, he was thinking of some way to be in denial that the Duchess did not only love him. Another use of this hyphen is juxtaposition, this is because at first he is saying that she used to thank men, which was good, but then he changes his mind as if thanking men meant a lot more than it seemed.

There is also another hyphen at the end of this quote, in my opinion this suggests that he is thinking about what he just said and is wondering whether he made the right assumption or not. From this quote it clearly shows that the Duke was not able to handle this situation maturely and instead decided to misjudge the Duchess. Another emotion expressed vividly by the Duke in ‘My Last Duchess’ is envy. My evidence for this is in this quote-

‘A heart- how shall I say? to soon made glad,’ This quote has a rhetorical question in the middle which shows that he is looking back and thinking about what a flirtatious character the Duchess was. He is also trying to imply that men were very easily impressed by the Duke. The hyphen in this quote shows that he pauses to think then he asks a rhetoric question. This rhetorical question shows that the Duke wants the audience to know clearly what kind of person he thought the Duchess was. From this quote it shows that the Duke thought she was flirtatious which meant men were easily impressed by the Duchess.

From this situation it shows that the Duke was filled with envy as the Duchess seemed to be open for everyone. Overall, in ‘My Last Duchess’ emotions and feeling are portrayed in a very strong way so it makes it easy to judge the Dukes character. This poem, from his point of view, shows that he was an extremely selfish person and when the Duchess made the slightest gesture of being drawn to someone he disliked it. Also it shows that the relationship between the Duke and the Duchess had nothing except jealousy in between.

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How Are Feelings Shown in My Last Duchess?. (2016, Oct 04). Retrieved from