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I am studying the 'My last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's Lover,' both of
which are dramatic monologues. Browning writes about two people who
are talking about their lovers or ex-lovers. The dramatic monologue
tells us the persons feelings and thoughts and they reveal what the
character is like inside. Browning uses language, tone, style and
images to reveal the characters he is writing about.
In Porphyrias's lover Browning writes about an abnormally possessive
lover waiting for his girlfriend to return. The lover is obsessed with
Porphyria, and wants this moment of love to last forever. He has a
very strange way of immortalising her love. He says, "That's moment
she was mine," he never wanted to lose her. Browning uses emotional
language to convey how obsessed Porphyria's Lover is obsessed with
Porphyria. Porphyria's lover said he knew Porphyria "worshipped him"
but he was just fooling himself. He would wait for her to come home
"and "listened with heart to break." Porphyria's lover was paranoid
about Porphyria having other men. His heart he say was "fit to break"
because he was ready for it. Porphyria's lover knew that Porphyria
might be seeing other men. So when he had the chance to keep her
forever, he took that chance and "strangled her" casually as if it was
a day-to-day thing. He was calm, and "found a thing to do" and just
strangled her with no remorse. He thought he was doing right, to
himself what he was doing was perfectly normal and he could not see
anything wrong with it. Browning shows and writes this character as a
psychopath. Porphyria's lover justified his killing by telling the
reader that he was "quite sure she felt no pain." It is not clear if
he knows this to be false, but he kids himself, justifying his
actions. Also Porphyria's lover justifying himself with an extremely
powerful last line, "God had not said a word" He thinks because God
didn't complain, it must be right. When does God ever complain? He is
a silent observer.
My last duchess is a dramatic monologue about a Duke who had lost his
love of his duchess and just disposed of her as if she is an object.
The Duke talks more about the painting of Duchess than the real
Duchess. The duke is talking about the painting in the first few
lines. He talks about it admirably and thinks "that piece is a wonder"
but its not a wonder because it is a painting of his last duchess, but
he thinks it a wonder because it is painted by 'Fra Pandolf.' He never
actually names the duchess in the painting, only the artist who
painted it. He is no longer concerned with the duchess contained
within the picture as the Duke is cold and treated the Duchess like a
painting, something he can get rid of if he wants. When he talks about
the painting, it's "my last duchess" as if he owned her. And the poem
ends with "for me" conveying that he thinks about himself a lot more
than other people. He is self centred and egotistical. Browning
language in 'My last Duchess' is very cold and formal. The duke
himself is very cold and formal, along with the poem. This is how
Browning wants us to see the character. He wants us to see the Duke as
a thick-skinned individual who finds it hard to understand his wife's
feelings. It doesn't seem that he really wanted to know his wife's
feeling either; he just wanted her love and for her to love him only.
Browning uses repetition of words associated with possession. The word
"my" appears many times throughout the poem, and the duke uses it
freely but not intentionally. The duke thinks it is his right to own a
duchess not only to marry one.
In 'My Last Duchess' Browning has the Duke talking to a messenger but
the messenger has no lines in the poem. It is a monologue, but he is
talking to someone. The duke is not talking to the reader directly,
but to the messenger. Browning uses this to reveal the character, as a
rude self-centred man who only talks about what he wants to talk
about. The messenger did not come to the Dukes stately home to talk
about his last Duchess, he came to talk about his masters daughter to
wed the duke. The Duke only comes round to this at the end of the
poem, when it suits him. Browning uses this messenger who the duke is
talking too, to show us the real Duke, and how he treats people.
However in 'Porphyria's lover,' the lover is speaking directly too us,
as if he was speaking to a camera in a film. This reveal the thoughts
and feeling of the lover and Browning uses this dramatic monologue to
show how possessive and deranged the lover is. He is in his little
world and has to be "called out of it by Porphyria. In 'My Last
Duchess' the dukes true feeling only come out through conversation
with the messenger.
Browning uses the dramatic monologue to reveal his characters very
effectively. He reveals the characters slowly up to the pivotal line
of the poem, and then we see what the character is really like.
Through the language, setting and details of the poem, the reader can
determine the character. It is not always obvious what Browning is
trying to do, but at the pivotal line it all becomes clear. In
'Porphyria's lover' the pivotal line is "and strangled her." At this
point we realise that the lover is a deranged jealous individual who
wants to immortalise Porphyria's love for him. In 'My last Duchess,'
the pivotal line is "then all smiles stopped together. At this point
in the poem, we can realise that the duke has killed his last duchess
and seeking another one. Browning uses dramatic monologue to reveal
character threw thoughts.
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"Comparing My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Apr 2014