Did the Duke's speech have any effect on the servant in "My Last Duchess"?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a very difficult question to answer, because there is no explicit description of the servant's reaction.  Even using inference is difficult; there is just so little to go by. 

Other than commands of sitting and rising, and a mention of the servant's master, there are only two telling references.  One is when the servant might have asked about the expression of the dead Duchess in the painting (lines 12-13).  This implies that the painting moved him enough to ask about it.  The second telling reference is when the Duke-after revealing the murder and referring to his master's terms for marriage-says, "Nay, we'll go together down, sir."  This implies that the servant was leaving, even as the Duke was still talking, and the Duke had to refrain him.  The servant felt an emotion strongly enough to break through his reserve and polite obedience to commands (sit, look, stand) to try to leave.  What emotion was that?  Why would he be anxious to leave?  Perhaps he was uncomfortable, creeped out, scared....that is up to the reader to decide.  I hope that helps!  Good luck with this one, it's a tough question!

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My Last Duchess

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