Literary Devices in My Last Duchess

Text of the Poem 3
"That's my last Duchess..."   (Text of the Poem)

Browning writes the poem as a dramatic monologue, characterized by an assumed audience and the author writing in the first person under a different persona. Note how this style lets the duke brag about himself and speak poorly of his wife, all without allowing other voices or perspectives to be heard. As a result, the duke comes across as self-centered and ignorant of his unlikeable character.

"wall..."   (Text of the Poem)

Browning combines the literary device enjambment, sentences that run from one line of poetry to the next, with the formal conventions of rhymed couplets (AABB) and iambic pentameter. Notice how this creates an intentionally jarring style that adds to the disturbing impression made by the Duke in his monologue.

"Who'd stoop to blame This sort of trifling?..."   (Text of the Poem)

What is the irony of this rhetorical question?