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Irony in My Last Duchess

Irony Examples in My Last Duchess:

My Last Duchess

🔒 2

"She had A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad, Too easily impressed..."   (My Last Duchess)

Browning utilizes a poetic device called verbal irony in this selection to demonstrate how the Duke conveys a meaning that is the opposite of the literal meaning of the phrase. In this case, the narrator implies that he did not like these attributes of his last Duchess.

"Notice Neptune, though, Taming a sea-horse..."   (My Last Duchess)

Notice how Browning uses the statue, which the Duke has had specially commissioned, to ironically reveal the Duke’s inflated self-image: The Duke sees himself as Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, exercising his power over a fragile, defenseless seahorse that symbolizes both his Last Duchess and his future bride.

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