Students read lines 21–34 of Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess” (from “She had / A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad” to “My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name / With anybody’s gift”), in which the Duke further describes the Duchess. Students continue to gather evidence of the Duke’s character and the emergence of the Duchess’s character as described by the Duke. Student learning is assessed via a Quick Write and self-assessed discussion at the end of the lesson: What is the impact of Browning’s choice of speaker on the development of the Duchess? Lesson 3 in Google Docs format
(Reread lines 9–10 of “My Last Duchess” and respond in writing to the following prompt: What does the reader learn about the portrait? How does this information develop the Duke’s character?)
2. Review Vocabulary
Add the following vocabulary words and definitions to your journal:
- favour (n.)
- bough (n.)
- officious (adj.)
3. Listen / Read Along
- Listen to / Read lines 21–34 of Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess” (from “She had / A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad” to “My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name / With anybody’s gift”), in which the Duke further describes the Duchess.
4. Answer questions
Answers can be simple phrases, you do not need to use full sentences — I’m primarily assessing your comprehension of the text.
- Reread lines 21–23: “She had / A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad, / Too easily impressed.” What is the effect of the repetition in these lines?
- What is the effect of “how shall I say?” (line 22) on lines 21–23?
What does the Duke mean by “the dropping of daylight in the West” (line 26)?
- What does bough mean in the line “The bough of cherries some officious fool / Broke in the orchard for her” (lines 27–28)? What words are associated with bough that can help to define it?
What happens in lines 27–28?
- What is the connotation of the word officious? (line 27)? What words or phrases suggest this connotation?
What does the Duke mean when he claims the Duchess’s “looks went everywhere” (line 24)?
What does the punctuation in “Sir, ’twas all one!” (line 25) suggest about the Duke’s tone and message? What inference can be made about how the Duke feels about what he is saying?
What inferences can be made about the Duchess based on lines 25–29?
- What does the Duke mean by the “gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name” (line 33)?
From the Duke’s perspective, how does the Duchess value the gift of the Duke’s family name?
- How does this contrast with the Duke’s view of the gift of his name in lines 31–34?
- Evaluate the Duke’s reliability as a narrator in these lines. Support your response with evidence from the text.
5. Short essay response (quick write)
- Lesson 3. What is the impact of Browning’s choice of speaker on the development of the Duchess?
Look at your notes or the text itself to find evidence. Include this lesson’s vocabulary wherever possible to develop the topic through the use of well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient evidence. Use your Short Response Rubric and Checklist to guide your written responses. Share your responses ( email@example.com )!
- What does the reader learn about the characters of the Duke and the Duchess in lines 29–34? What is left uncertain about the Duke and Duchess in these lines?