The Similarities and Differences in My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover

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The Similarities and Differences in My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover 'My Last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's Lover' are poems written by Robert Browning in the form of a dramatic monologue. They both contain themes of love, jealousy, contempt and obsession. In the beginning of 'My Last Duchess' the Duke is speaking about his wife's portrait to an envoy. In 'Porphyria's Lover' the Lover is speaking directly to the reader, conveying his thoughts, personifying the weather perhaps emphasizing his unhappiness ('the sullen wind soon awake') seeing as he had a 'heart fit to break'. Both the Duke and the Lover are watching the women whilst they speak. The Duke hints at her having affairs; 'Fr. Pandolf's hands worked busily', 'busily' implies that he did more than just paint her picture. The Lover in 'Porphyria's Lover' shows a similarity, as he too was suspicious of her love, believing she would not give herself fully to him as she was 'from pride and vainer ties', from a higher rank. Both Porphyria and the duchess are of high ranking. The difference here is that the Duke believed his wife did not give herself fully to him, but was as equally impressed with everyone and everything, and the Duke was too proud to give her the same attention. In 'Porphyria's Lover' the Lover believed Porphyria was too proud to give him her undivided attention. The Duke felt that the duchess treated every trivial object with the same affection she had for him, 'too easily impressed, she liked whate'er she looked on'. Although both the Duke and the Lover felt unloved in the beginning neither made any attempt to convey this to their lovers. The Lover pretended to be asleep when Porphyria entered the home ('When no voice replied'... ... middle of paper ... ... a sculpture created for him; showing the pompous aspect of his character. In the beginning of the poem, the Lovers' tone is cold, hostile and annoyed portrayed through words like 'sullen', 'spite' and 'vex'. When Porphyria appears, his attitude becomes obsessive and appreciative, as he watches her every movement as she 'glides' around the house, observing her 'yellow hair'. There is still a bitter quality to his words as he contemplates her love for him ('Too weak, for all her heart's endeavor To set its struggling passion free'). When the Lover realized Porphyria did genuinely love him his tone is ecstatic and rapturous. 'Porphyria worshipp'd me; surprise Made my heart swell While I debated what to do. That moment she was mine, mine fair,' The line exposes his arrogance after he has murdered his Lover, 'And yet God has not said a word'.
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