Comparison of ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ Essay

Comparison of ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ Essay

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‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ are both poems by the Victorian poet Robert Browning. In this essay I will compare these two poems to find similarities and differences.

Both of these poems can be used read from different points of view and they could also be used to show how society treated women in the Nineteenth Century: as assets, possessions. Both of these poems are what are known as a dramatic monologue as well as being written in the first person. The whole poem is only one stanza long, and each line in the stanza comprises of eight syllables. ‘My Last Duchess’ is about a member of the nobility talking to an ambassador concerning his last wife, who later on in the poem is revealed to have been murdered by the person speaking, who is about to marry his second wife. ‘Porphyria's Lover’ gives an insight into the mind of an exceptionally possessive lover, who kills his lover in order to capture that perfect moment of compassion. ‘Porphyria's Lover’ uses an alternating rhyme scheme during most of the poem except at the end. The whole poem is only one stanza long, and each line in the stanza comprises of eight syllables.

In ‘My Last Duchess,’ the speaker is conveyed as being controlling, arrogant, malicious, and capricious. The Duke shows signs of jealousy and over-protection towards his first wife. On the other hand, the narrator in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ is portrayed as who has lost touch with reality, someone clearly insane. There a few hints that this character may be lonely and withdrawn. After Porphyria enters the room he is in, the tension immediately drops and the mood warms.

The Speaker in ‘My Last Duchess’ is conversing with the servant of a count whose daughter he is proposing to marry. He treats t...


... middle of paper ...


...rough the careful use of meter and rhyme, but once analyzed, that same use of meter and rhyme conveys that he is not harmless as he seems.

In ‘Porphyria’s Lover,’ the speaker appears to be honestly and simply recounting the events of his final encounter with Porphyria. However, Robert Browning’s careful use of meter (Iambic Tetrameter), rhyme and repetition betrays his true state of mind. He uses phrases like “Mine, Mine!” to help enforce this.

In conclusion, both poems are very similar on many subjects, but there are also some very strong differences. In both poems, a similar structure, rhyme scheme and meter play pivotal roles in their respective poems. In both poems, differences in the settings, the characters and the tone help us understand what message Robert Browning was trying to convey to us in his poems, ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess.’

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