Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess" Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein   This poem is one of Browning’s perennial favorites. The model for it is assumed to have been Alfonso II, fifth Duke of Ferrara, whose first wife, Lucrezia de Medici, died in 1561 at the age of seventeen; by all accounts she had been poisoned. Alfonso is speaking in a "dramatic monologue," for which Browning was so well-known, to a representative of the Count of Tyrol, whose niece, Barbara, Alfonso would like to make his next wife. The two things that become apparent are that his next wife must flatter him—and no one else!—and she must have a large dowry. His comments about his art connoisseurship and high rank simply show that any wife will be treated as a possession, to be disposed of if he becomes displeased. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily