Porphyria’s Lover and My Last Duchess Essay

Porphyria’s Lover and My Last Duchess Essay

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The two poems that I am comparing are Porphyria’s Lover and My Last Duchess,
both early nineteenth century dramatic monologues by Robert Browning.

Compare the three dramatic monologues you have studied on the way in
which the characters reveal their true nature through what they say.

The two poems that I am comparing are Porphyria’s Lover and My Last
Duchess, both early nineteenth century dramatic monologues by Robert
Browning. A dramatic monologue is a poem in which only one person
speaks, but the presence of another person is usually felt. The
narrator reveals a great deal about himself without any apparent
intention of doing so. In both of these dramatic monologues, it
appears that the speaker has murdered their mistress and is reflecting
upon their actions while contemplating the image of their lover’s
beautiful face. Both are selfish men who were jealous of their
victims. The two speakers came from very different backgrounds, one a
rich and powerful Duke, the other a low-born worker living in rural
simplicity.

Porphyria’s Lover is a love story told in the words of a simple man
obsessed by his love for a woman of noble birth. The first five lines
describe the weather on a miserable, wet evening. This is Browning’s
use of pathetic fallacy, giving the works of nature human feelings –
the feelings of the speaker.
======================================================================

“The sullen wind was soon awake,

It tore the elm tops down for spite,

And its worse to vex the lake:”

The speaker is longing for his lover and feeling miserable but then
she arrives. The whole mood changes from darkness and cold, to warmth
and light. His mood change is shown by “she shut the cold out”, both
...


... middle of paper ...


... saw the
young Duchess, a work of art, something that he owned and could show
off, and something that he could also discard when it no longer
pleased him. The speaker in Porphyria’s Lover, reveals himself to be
someone who speaks his heart and does not ‘fence around’ the truth
like the Duke. Although the Duke says he does not have skilled
speech, its is obvious that his diction is carefully chosen through
out. He is almost inviting the listener to disagree with him.

“Even had you the skill

In speech – (which I have not)”

The speaker in Porphyria’s Lover uses a much simpler diction, as he
will not have been as well educated as the Duke. Both men are
murderers, one because of love, which he feels, could never be
accepted because of the social divide, the other as a result of
jealousy, arrogance and spite, again occasioned by the difference in
class.

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