A Comparison of My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover Essays

A Comparison of My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover Essays

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"My Last Duchess" is a poem about an arrogant and extremely powerful
Duke who is describing his deceased Duchess. From the word "last" in
the title it is implied that the duke has had more than one duchess.
In this poem, the Duke is extremely egotistic. He says, "I choose
never to stoop." The duchess would look at everyone in the world as
being equal no matter what class they are. The duke however cannot do
this. He is too worried about his appearance.

"Porphyria's Lover" is a poem in which a man describes an evening in
which his lover, Porphyria, visits him and he unexpectedly murders
her. In this it is unlike "My Last Duchess" because Porphyria
'worships' her lover unlike the Duke

From the title "My Last Duchess", we immediately learn that this is a
personal poem to the duke. It is a love and murder poem. It is a
dramatic monologue and is written as a single stanza.

Both poems also have a silent listener. In 'My Last Duchess' the
silent listener is the Ambassador for the Count, who is the father of
the Duke's next bride whereas in 'Porphyria's Lover' the silent
listener could be a number of people it could be a police officer, or
he could just be telling the story to a friend. There is no evidence
in the poem, which tells the reader who he is talking to.

The tone in these poems is important as it acts as a contrast to the
content of the poem. In "My Last Duchess", Browning uses a soft tone
and describes the Duke having the Duchess killed subtly, " This grew;
I gave commands;/ Then all smiles stopped together." Browning
describes this without changing the tone.

However in "Porphyria's Lover" the tone is normal and soft throughout
the poem until the point in which the Lover murders Porphyria, "I...


... middle of paper ...


...both of the characters kill
their lovers.

"She was mine, mine, fair,/ Perfectly pure and good". This is what the
lover said before he killed Porphyria. He kills her because at that
precise moment in time he has complete power and control over
Porphyria and wants to preserve this.

Browning uses a simile extremely effectively in "Porphyria's Lover" to
describe the body of Porphyria. He says "As a shut bud that holds a
bee". This gives the reader the image that her soul is still alive but
her body is dead. The bud is shut and the bee is still alive inside of
it.

Overall, I found these poems both quite enjoyable to read. I enjoyed
"My Last Duchess" less than I enjoyed "Porphyria's Lover". This is
because the murder in "Porphyria's Lover" was so unexpected and a
shock whereas in "My Last Duchess", it was written more subtly giving
it less excitement.

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