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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 1206 words

A Comparison Between "Porphyria's Lover and "My Last Duchess"

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

A Comparison Between "Porphyria's Lover and "My Last Duchess" Both of these poems are what is know as a dramatic monologue. "My Last Duchess" is about a member of the nobility talking to an ambassador concerning his last wife, who later on in the poem is revealed to have been murdered by the person speaking, who is about to marry his second wife. "Porphyria's Lover" gives an insight into the mind of an exceptionally possessive lover, who kills his lover in order to capture that perfect moment of compassion. "Porphyria's Lover" uses an alternating rhyme scheme during most of the poem except at the end. It is written in the first person and is known as a dramatic monologue. The whole poem is only one stanza long, and each line in the stanza comprises of eight syllables, this helps to give the poem a very regular rhythm; this gives a sense of order and control in the poem which is what Porphyria's lover seeks to gain over Porphyria. Unlike "Porphyria's Lover", "My Last Duchess" uses a regular rhyme scheme using rhyming couplets.

Middle

He uses the phrase "As a shut bud holds a bee" to show his now complete power over her. For most of the end part of the poem he tries to justify his reasons for killing her: "The smiling rosy little head, / So glad it has its utmost will" In the last line of the poem he says "God has not said a word!" this is seeking further justification for his acts because he believes that if killing Porphyria was not wholly justified then God would have spoken and he would have been caught out somehow. "My last Duchess" is written in the first person, and the title of the poem refers to the speaker's last wife. The fact that is wife is referred to as a "Duchess" means that the speaker is obviously a member of the nobility. The speaker is extremely arrogant and similar to in "Porphyria's Lover" holds a certain sense of control over the poem. The first sentence tells us that the painting is of his former wife who is now deceased. The sense of control over the poem is extremely prominent in the first few lines.

Conclusion

Now that his wife is dead he has gained the complete control over her which he sought over her in life; this is a theme which is also used in "Porphyria's Lover". We then discover that the person he is speaking to is an ambassador for the father of the narrator's next wife. The fact that this ambassador never speaks is another indication to the speaker's power. The theme of power is a theme which is used frequently in the other poem "Porphyria's Lover". In the last few lines the image of Neptune taming a sea horse is one that runs parallel with the speaker's wish to control his wife. In the very last line he says: "Which Claus Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!" This means that the speaker is exceedingly wealthy and gives you the chilling feeling that he may have had many wives before who he had killed for their fathers' money. I feel that "My Last Duchess" is a far superior poem to "Porphyria's Lover". This is because it manages to convey the similar images they both use in a much better way. They both use an image of the narrator's control and superiority, but "My Last Duchess" uses the image to much better effect.

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