Critical Reviews on "My Last Duchess".
Robert Browning's collections of poetry are full of dramatic Monologues. Browning's poetry has been reviewed by critic after critic, but no classifications are described as excitedly as his dramatic monologues. "My last Duchess" is only one of many poems, written by Browning that is full of secrets, curiosity, and accusations. In "My Last Duchess", Browning is full of literary devices and hints as to what might have happened to a young girl once married to the Duke of Ferrara. Robert Browning uses imagery and allusion in "My Last Duchess" to describe the attitude of the Duke of Ferrara and his possessiveness.
Robyn V. Young compares "My Last Duchess" to a few dramatic monologues by Tennyson, such as, "St. Simeon Stylites" and "Ulysses". Young says "this is the only analogous poem in the language; the monologue is natural from the very situation of the solitary fanatic (Young, p.37)" of "St. Simeon Stylites". In comparison he says, ""My Last Duchess", it is very unnatural that the Duke should betray himself so entirely to the envoy who comes to negotiate a new marriage as to let him have the same opportunity of knowing as we ourselves that his cold austerity and pride had been the death of his late wife. (Young, p.37)" Young also compares "My Last Duchess" to "Bishop Orders his Tomb" in a strange way. He says that Browning speaks through the mouth of the bishop and you won't find Browning speaking through anyone in "My Last Duchess". Young seems to think that some accents of Browning's quaintness are lost. Young seems to love Browning's work, just not this particular poem.
Lois A. Marchino takes a more forward approach on reviewing "My Last Duchess" in Masterplots II. He first states that this poem is an actual story of Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara whose young wife died mysteriously died in 1561. He tells about the Duke talking to the agent and states all of the things the Duke did not like about her and the things she took for granted, such as his nine-hundred year old name.