victorian era

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The Victorian Era was a time of overseas expansion and domestic reform. During this period of growth and change, there is an upsurge of literary movements and technological advancements that has shaped its culture and brought forth a new direction of prosperity. We are introduced to a number of authors, each of which provides different and unique perceptions through their writing. As we read further into the unit, we start to realize that personal relationships such as love, marriage, and friendship become very important to the Victorians. However, the writers from this period suggest different ideals. Some of these writers express a darker approach, among these is Robert Browning. He is best known as one of the greatest of Victorian poets, and the techniques he learned as a playwright led him to master the dramatic monologue. Dramatic monologues are a way of expressing the views of a character and offering the audience greater insight into that character's feelings. “My Last Duchess” and Porphyria’s Lover” are among Browning’s best dramatic monologues.
“My Last Duchess” is written in rhymed iambic pentameter lines. It is about the inner thoughts of an individual speaker (Duke) who reveals a portrait of his former wife to the count’s agent and explains what happened as well as what led to her unfortunate fate. There are several hints of symbolism and imagery that play a key role throughout the poem, such as the portrait of the duchess, the smiling, and the stooping. Not much is said about the portrait except that is lifelike and captures the duchess’s emotional state. The Duchess’s smile and joyous state are the biggest signs of imagery in the portrait itself and the poem. According to the Duke, he thinks their worthless because ...

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...s all about power and jealousy, the Duke becomes jealous of the attention his wife shows to other people. He takes command and decides that murder is his only solution. The Duke wants people to understand his authority, any sense of emotion that his wife expressed was considered a threat to his power. He has pride on where he stands in society and he is not willing to risk it. In “Porphyria’s Lover” Porphyria seems to be of a higher social class, the lover knows this and kills her in an attempt to bring balance to their relationship. The love they have between each other turns quickly into a power play; his desire to possess Porphyria reduces her to an object in which he can manipulate. The fact that both poems both involve some sort of killing questions the author’s behavior. Robert Browning’s works are dark and obscure; they fit perfectly with the Victorian era.
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