Essay on Relationships Between Women and Men in Browning's Poems

Essay on Relationships Between Women and Men in Browning's Poems

Length: 2605 words (7.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Relationships Between Women and Men in Browning's Poems

Robert Browning is described as ‘a love poet who was acutely aware of
how women and men can be separated by jealousy or the passing of
time’. In studying his poetry, what did you notice about the
relationships he explores? What is revealed about the time in which
Browning was writing?

The ‘Love Poet’ Robert Browning was born in London in 1812. In 1846
Browning married the poet Elizabeth Barrett and eloped with her to
Italy. After Elizabeth’s death he returned to England and continued to
publish a great number of poems and plays. His best poetry was
written, however, in the years that he spent in Italy with his wife.
He died in 1889.

Browning’s time period was a lot different than today’s culture and
social behaviour; this is obvious in his poems. The relationships
between a male and a female were much more formal. The male brought
money into the house, he would work and socialise. For the wealthy
men, it was often they had a pretty girl beside them. She would act as
a pleasant book cover, covering the intelligent dominant man. In
Browning’s poems, however, the characters are often men and women
caught at moments of anxiety and obsession. Since they tend to reveal
more than they actually intend, the interest of the poems lies in
discovering what lies beneath the words that are actually spoken. This
relates to Robert Browning’s description as ‘a love poet who was
acutely aware of how women and men can be separated by jealously or
the passing of time’.

I will be studying five of Browning’s poems including: My Last Duchess,
a dramatic monologue in which the Duke speaks to an imaginary listener
about a painting of his last duchess. Porphyria’s Lo...

... middle of paper ...

...s absence of a female
voice may suggest a representation of a specifically male identity
through the speaker. On the other hand, doubts remain whether he
intended to psychoanalyse the male identity for a particular poem, as
no female voice exists for a comparison.

The central problem in Browning's love poetry is invariably one of
communication between the sexes. The intangible influences that
encourage or destroy intimacy between men and women elicit all his
skill in psychological analysis; for love exists in and through human
intuitions. Reference has already been made to the poet's belief that
destined lovers recognize each other on first sight. But these moments
of full and perfect communion are precarious; and, save for the most
exceptional cases, the initial harmony does not survive social
pressures or the importunities of individual temperament.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

My Last Duchess and Porphyrias Lover by Robert Browning Essay

- Robert Browning wrote the two poems, "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover." Both poems convey an thoughtful, examination profound commentary about the concept of love. communicates two interpretations concerning Both poems describe the behavior of people who are in loving, romantic relationships. There are several aspects common in both poems. Using the literary technique of dramatic dialogue, the author reveals the plot and central idea of each poem. Robert Browning tells each poetic story through a single speaker....   [tags: Robert Browning]

Powerful Essays
1244 words (3.6 pages)

Jealousy in Three Dramatic Monologues by Browning Essay

- Jealousy in Three Dramatic Monologues by Browning The poems 'My Last Duchess', 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'The Laboratory' are three dramatic monologues, theatrical tales of bitter jealousy told by anonymous, murderous lovers. 'My Last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's Lover' use the simple idea of cruel male domination to portray the narrator's jealousy, as these two men do not know any other way of controlling their seemingly flirtatious lovers' behaviour. They try to completely possess their women as objects, and such a need for power seems to be a pure statement of irrational jealousy....   [tags: Robert Browning Jealousy Poetry Essays]

Powerful Essays
1393 words (4 pages)

Porphyrias Lover and My Last Duchess by Robert Browning Essay

- Compare the two poems ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning. What do they reveal about attitudes to women and relationships in the nineteenth century. Robert Browning was one of the greatest poets of the nineteenth century. In 1842, he published ‘Dramatic Lyrics’ which included the two poems ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess’. In ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ Browning gives the reader a dramatic insight into the twisted mind of an abnormally possessive lover, who wishes the moment of love to last forever....   [tags: Robert Browning, Porphyrias Lover]

Powerful Essays
2228 words (6.4 pages)

Robert Browning's Poems My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover Essay

- ... He wanted more respect and believed that to be what he deserved, and when he felt it was not given he took her life from her. Porphyria’s Lover is a very similar text in these regards. The speaker was jealous of the fact that Porphyria had not spent all her time with him and that she had been out in society without him their with her. He felt he should be the one to dominate her time and he never wished to see her happy with another investment of her time. “But passion sometimes would prevail, nor could tonight’s gay feast restrain a sudden thought of one so pale for love of her, and all in vain: so, she was come through wind and rain.”(Porphyria’s Lover lines 26-30) He describes her wor...   [tags: women's equality, content analysis]

Powerful Essays
1462 words (4.2 pages)

How does Browning show the balance of power between men and women in Essay

- How does Browning show the balance of power between men and women in My Last Duchess and Porphryria's Lover. In these two poems Robert Browning shows the balance of power in male-female relationships. Both are very similar in the way that they portray the women having more power than they should have, and the men not having the power they think they should have. In the first poem, 'My Last Duchess', Browning shows the Duke not having full control over his wife, the Duchess. In the second poem, 'Porphyria's Lover', the narrator does not have control because she is in a higher class and cannot be with him and she would lower her class and she is not ready to give it up....   [tags: English Literature]

Free Essays
805 words (2.3 pages)

The Theme of Love in Poetry Essay

- The Theme of Love in Poetry I have chosen to compare four poems, the first one is 'Porphyrias Lover'. It is written by Robert Browning who died in 1889. The second poem, 'My Last Duchess', is also by Robert Browning. Browning was a great poet in the Victorian age and married Elizabeth Barratt. The third poem is called 'First Love'. It is written by John Clare (1793-1864). The final poem is 'Ballad'. It is an anonymous poem as no-one knows who wrote ballads. This is because they are word of mouth and are passed down through many generations going through minor changes each time and therefore by the end they become a completely different poem to the one in the beginning....   [tags: Love Poetry Poems Robert Browning Essays]

Powerful Essays
4675 words (13.4 pages)

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

- "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....   [tags: Robert Browning, Comparing, Compare]

Powerful Essays
1167 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Historical People from the Victorian Era

- ... Dickens is illustrating how dangerous it would be to make humans into machines, that lack imagination and compassion, and that suck a life would be unbearable. Charles Dickens Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth and is one of the greatest writers in the Victorian era. He lived in England and wrote novels and short stories, which criticized society. When Dickens was young his father was sent to prison and he had to leave school to go to work in a factory. This left him without any formal education, but still he was very successful....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, Robert Browning]

Powerful Essays
877 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Ordinary Men by Browning

- Ordinary Men by Browning The men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 were just ordinary men, from a variety of backgrounds, education, and age. It would appear that they were not selected by any force other than random chance. Their backgrounds and upbringing, however, did little to prepare these men for the horrors they were to witness and participate in. The group was made up of both citizens and career policemen. Major Wilhelm Trapp, a career policeman and World War I veteran headed the battalion....   [tags: Browning Ordinary Men Essays]

Powerful Essays
1625 words (4.6 pages)

Browning's Ordinary Men Essay

- "There are no extraordinary men... just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are faced to deal with" (William Halsey). The same can be said about volatile men. This is the quote Christopher R. Browning thought of when he named this book. The men of the 101st battalion were rarely faced with decisions. Even if it had been proposed by Trapp the morning of Jozefow that "any of the older men who did not feel up to the task that lay before them could step out" (Browning, chapter 7, pg. 57), he didn't actually allow them any time to truly think about it....   [tags: Browning Ordinary Men]

Powerful Essays
1077 words (3.1 pages)