• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A comparison between "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning.

Extracts from this document...


By George Cadogan A comparison between "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning. "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. ...read more.


More so in "Porphyria's Lover". The lines do not employ end-stops; sentences and other grammatical units do not necessarily conclude at the end of lines. This happens more so in "Porphyria's Lover". The lover describes Porphyria removing her wet hat, "untied/ Her hat and let the damp hair fall". The use of enjambment here gives the image of her long blonde hair falling from beneath her hat. This is effective because it gives the reader the image of her hair moving out of position. Browning uses language very effectively in these poems. In "My Last Duchess" Browning use diminutive language to describe the way the Duke behaves. He says " Even had you skill/ In speech- (which I have not)". He uses this rhetorical question to deliberately lower himself when talking to the Count's ambassador to impress him. He is willing to change his personality completely from arrogant and self-obsessive to courteous. The Duchess does not care about stooping to different levels. In a similar way to the duke, Porphyria is able to lower herself so that her lover will love her, " She put my arm around her waist,/ and made her smooth white shoulder bare". ...read more.


He refers to the Duchess as "my lady". This symbolises complete power and possesviness over her. In a similar way the lover in "Porphyria's Lover" is an abnormally possessive lover, passionate and obsessive. From the knowledge of the characters you are given through the poems you see that they are both possessive and this is the reason why 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. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Robert Browning section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Robert Browning essays

  1. A study of two dramatic monologues, 'Porphyria's Lover' & 'My last Duchess' by Robert ...

    The two dramatic monologues differ as the relationship conducted between the Duke and the Duchess, is manifested to be cold and unaffectionate, whereas Porphyria and her lover hold an emotional, and caring partnership. The monologue also disclosed that the Duke does not understand or know fully his late wife's mind.

  2. Analysis of My Last Duchess by Robert Browning.

    Do we know for sure? Does "she" mean the Duchess or her painting? When discussing the poem's content, there are many things we know for certain and many others that are questionable. We know that the Duchess died suspiciously and that the Duke is in the process of looking for a new wife.

  1. How does Browning present the idea of love in 'The Laboratory' and 'My Last ...

    This could be because Browning is creating the effect of being in the room with the woman. The use of sensory detail, metaphors and alliteration add to the depth in which the woman's action are described and give the indication of a female's characteristic.

  2. Comment on Browning's presentation of power relationships between men and women in 'My last ...

    "In one long yellow string I wound three times her little throat around, and strangled her" The murder part is nonsensical. But the strange thing is that he finds her more attractive now than when she was alive. Sex and death work well together to cause a creative effect to make us feel disturbed.

  1. Compare the presentation of relationships in My Last Duchess, Porphyrias Lover and ...

    "Now, take all me jewels, gorge gold to your fill, / You may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will!" This quote is telling us that the plan worked and they are very happy. Porphyria's Lover is also a dramatic monologue, where Robert Browning uses many adjectives to describe Porphyria.

  2. Examine Browning's use of the dramatic monologue in 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'My Last Duchess'. ...

    By strangling her, it is obvious that this cannot be true and it seems that by repeating the phrase he is continually trying to persuade himself that he did the right thing by killing her. 'Porphyria's Lover' is the story of a devotee, describing the murder of his love just

  1. How does Robert Browning use the dramatic monologue to portray madness in his poems

    grate Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;" Porphyria enters the cottage and the first thing that happens is that she immediately makes the fire burn brightly so it warms the cottage. Warmth is associated with happiness. The quotation shows Porphyria's personality reflected in her actions.

  2. The comparison of 'My Last Duchess' and 'The Laboratory'

    This is what establishes that sinister ambiance. The verse above has the same principle but the masculine sounds of the words some how blunted and make the women?s intentions more direct, increasing the impact of the shudder-some effect that follows.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work