My Last Duchess Questions and Answers
by Robert Browning

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Explain these lines: That's my last duchess painted on the wall, / Looking as if she were alive. I call / That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's...

Explain these lines:

That's my last duchess painted on the wall,

Looking as if she were alive. I call

That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands

Worked busily a day, and there she stands.

Will't please you sit and look at her? I said

"Frà Pandolf" by design, for never read

Strangers like you that pictured countenance,

The depth and passion of its earnest glance,

But to myself they turned (since none puts by

The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)

And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst

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Marietta Sadler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In these lines, the Duke is showing his guest a painting of his last Duchess. He invites his guest to sit and look at the painting and points out the earnest and passionate expression on the Duchess's face. The Duke also mentions that there is usually a curtain in front of the painting, which only he is allowed to draw aside.

In the second line, the Duke says that in the painting the Duchess looks "as if she were alive." This implies that she is no longer alive. The Duke also, in the third line, comments on how accomplished the painting is. He calls it "a wonder," and says that the artist's hands "Worked busily a day" to paint the picture. There could be a double meaning to this reference to the artist's hands. The Duke could also be implying that the artist was too friendly with the Duchess and touched...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 463 words.)

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Selena Mortensen eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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