My Last Duchess Questions and Answers
by Robert Browning

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If the Duke was unhappy with the Duchess's behavior, why didn't he make his displeasure known?

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In the poem "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning, the speaker makes clear that the Duchess he is speaking of was a rather fickle person in life—who was, in his view, "too easily impressed" and whose "looks went everywhere." He does not seem to feel that she did not properly appreciate him as such but rather expresses some displeasure at the fact that she seemed to appreciate equally "whate'er she looked on . . . as if she ranked my gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name / With anybody's gift."

There is some indication in this expression of the Duke's grievance as to why he did not actually express his displeasure to the Duchess. He is a proud man and feels that to criticize such "trifling" misbehavior on the part of the Duchess would be "some stooping; and I choose / Never to stoop." The Duke realizes that his complaints, while valid to him, might seem petty to others and that if he should object, it would belittle him in the eyes of the Duchess and others. It is more important to the...

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