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Explore How Themes Develop in 'My Last Duchess'

In this worksheet, students can evaluate how key themes develop in 'My Last Duchess'. Students will be able to look at how consistent key themes are in the poem, how they change and why.

'Explore How Themes Develop in 'My Last Duchess'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA, Pearson Edexcel,

Curriculum topic:   Poetry, Poetry Anthology Collections

Curriculum subtopic:   Power and Conflict: 'My Last Duchess' Relationships: 'My Last Duchess'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

Want to revise how key themes develop in 'My Last Duchess'?

Thought bubble

This activity will help you understand how Browning's language choice and tone develop these key themes in the poem. In other words, what is the effect of these key themes on the reader? What exactly is Browning trying to show about these key themes? First, let's identify the main themes in the poem.

Power

Jealousy

Arrogance

Possessiveness

Sex

Art and Culture

Murder

 

This activity is designed so that you, not only identify these key themes and ideas in the poem according to the language Browning uses but explore how these themes develop in the poem. So how does Browning develop one of these themes in his poem?

 

 

Here's an example of an evaluation on the theme of possessiveness

Browning uses the possessive pronoun "my", in the quote "that's my last Duchess, painted on the wall", to depict the Duke as a controlling and power-hungry man. The Duke described the Duchess as his property, even after she has died. The painting of the Duchess serves as a symbol of the Duke's possessive control over her when she was alive.

 

If you want to make this activity more of a revision exercise then jot these themes down. If you want to use this activity to test yourself, then go ahead and try to memorise these key themes/motifs. 

It's up to you how you want to use this activity!

Remember, it's not a race. So take your time with each step!

 

You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples. These quotations are for reference only.

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