Compare and Contrast Tennyson's Mariana with Browning's Porphyria's Lover

Compare and Contrast Tennyson's Mariana with Browning's Porphyria's Lover

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Compare and Contrast Tennyson's Mariana with Browning's Porphyria's
Lover. What is the emotional state of each speaker and how
effectively is this conveyed?

Tennyson and Browning were contemporary Victorian poets. During his
lifetime, Tennyson was made Poet Laureate. His poem 'Mariana' is very
cyclical and minimal. The mood is depressive, which reflected
Tennyson's family traits, as Tennyson himself was very susceptible to
depression. However, Browning's 'Porphyria's Lover' is very linear as
the action clearly moves from one stage to another and is not so
repetitive.

The remote and rural location of each poem portrays a sense of
loneliness and isolation that is directed towards the central
character. This heightens feeling and emotion and enables them to be
introspected and egocentric. Both Mariana and Porphyria's Lover as
people are unhappy with their current lives. They both desire love, as
they feel frustrated because of their lovers. However, the two are
slightly different. Mariana has been dejected whereas Porphyria's
lover needs to control the relationship.

In verse one of 'Mariana', the overall theme is one of isolation and
neglect. The 'rusted nails' and 'broken shed' set the scene that
Mariana too is neglected throughout the poem. 'My life is dreary' is
Mariana showing her depression and also turning the misery in on
herself; her lover 'cometh not'.

Verse two shows Mariana crying. Her misery and gloominess are
overwhelmingly apparent. Also her isolation from people is evident as
she is shown to be in-tune with nature as her tears correspond to the
drops of dew in the fields around her. Other features of her
background are also appropriate. 'She glanced athwart the glooming
flats' sugges...


... middle of paper ...


...f, 'O God, that I were dead!'
Another similarity is obvious here because both solutions are death
but the difference is that Mariana but must commit suicide.

'Mariana' is very much a Victorian feminist poem in stressing female
passivity, which was very prominent in that era. 'Porphyria's Lover'
reinforces the idea of male activity and dominance compared with
females having the over ruling power. Both poems are very successful
in portraying desperate situations but focus on different points.
Tennyson is very effective in showing a switch in power and the
thought process of the central character. However, Browning's
depiction of detail around Mariana's entrapment is most impressive.
The way we can see her life going round and round in circles with
amazing background ingredients is fantastic imagery by Tennyson.
Therefore I think Mariana is more effective.

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