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

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

... 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

'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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