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

A study of "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning

Extracts from this document...


A study of "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess" are both dramatic monologues which describe relationships that conclude with a murder. They each have themes of power, obsession, and control, and are narrated from a male perspective. The setting, style of writing, and visual details differ in each poem. The poem "Porphyria's Lover" allows the reader an insight into the mind of an abnormally possessive lover. It describes the murder of Porphyria that occurs after a particularly intense moment of love that the narrator wants to sustain. Browning begins the poem negatively, using the weather to describe the forthcoming events. By using words such as 'sullen' to describe weather, Browning personifies and adds power to the wind. Further anxiety and tension is then added from, "I listened with heart fit to break", which suggests that the narrator is particularly eager to see Porphyria. On her arrival, the power and control is fully with Porphyria. She glides into the room and taunts her lover by seductively shaking her hair and removing her outer garments; all whilst deliberately ignoring him. ...read more.


The Duke concocts situations that have not actually occurred that involves both the artist and the Duchess with sentences such as, "Perhaps Fra Pandolf chanced to say, 'her mantle laps over my lady's wrist too much" describing this. The Duke's critical and malicious side is revealed when he comments, "as she looked on, and her looks went everywhere" about his Duchess. This comment suggests that he believed she was unable to commit to just one person and describes her as being too easily pleased and na�ve. The Duke is unable to cope with anything that gives her happiness, other than himself. Again, he creates more situations in his mind and imagines everything that could make her happy with, "The dropping of the daylight in the west" and "The white mule she rode with", as examples of this. The mood rapidly changes in the poem from being emotionally detached to angry and tense from the sentence "As if she ranked my gift if a nine-hundred-year-old name with anybody's gift". This sentence emphasises the egotistical nature of the Duke, and the use of dashes breaks up the sentence structure to represent anger. ...read more.


The power and control is manifested in different ways in each poem. In Porphyria's Lover before the murder, the power and control is clearly with Porphyria as displayed in sentences such as "and stooping made my cheek lie there". Whereas in My Last Duchess it is clear that the Duchess never was, and never had been in control of her lover, due to the egotistical nature of the Duke who claims that he "choose never to stoop". In Porphyria's Lover, the readers are involved directly because of the speech gives the impression they are a witness to this murder. In My Last Duchess, the narrator is not communicating directly with the reader, so they are not as involved in the murder. The setting differs in each of the poems, with the use of colour and visual detail being used in Porphyria's Lover. By adding colour and descriptions if the weather to the poem, it helps the reader to imagine the setting. In My Last Duchess, there is little colour of details given, creating the detached mood in the poem. In conclusion, both "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess" contain themes of power, obsession, and control, and are narrated from a male perspective. The differences in the poems are the setting, style of writing and visual details. ...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. Robert Browning is described as 'a love poet who was acutely aware of how ...

    of a lighted match, And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears, Than the two hearts beating each to each!' The nature of the energy that thrusts forward through the tranquil night has defined itself concretely by the time the second half of the poem has been read.

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

    as if he is a better person because of who he is, effectively he is talking to a servant. A similar impact is displayed with the effect of the dramatic monologue in 'The Laboratory'. Browning uses dramatic monologue to display character in 'The Laboratory'.

  1. Compare the ways in which the poems present murderous relationships and their consequences In ...

    Browning demonstrates the level of the Dukes power and confidence at the line 'She had a heart...how to say...too soon may glad'. The use of pauses here gives us a feeling that the Duke is gloating on the amount of power he holds by trying to sound more innocent than he thinks he is.

  2. Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning - an Analysis and exploration of the poem and ...

    clever anecdote inserted by Browning to challenge the belief of God and Christianity. This reflects the religious background of the poet and his own perspective of Christianity of the time. The question raised by the poem as well as the subjects of the poem, illicit sex before marriage and murder

  1. Using style and form, how do the Brownings evoke reader sympathy and moral judgement ...

    The narrator in "Porphyria's Lover" is a schizophrenic. He fluctuates between moods of frustration, joy, and an intriguing anger, more sadistic than raging. His frustration, "for love in her but all in vain" suddenly changes to joy "happy and proud; at last I knew Porphyria worshipped me".

  2. Comparing and Contrasting My Last Duchess and Porphyrias Lover

    In addition, Porphyria's lover says that she would not "From pride, and vainer ties dissever" this shows that Porphyria is of a class that her involvement, in any form with someone like her lover, would cause a scandal. Also, she loves being in her social position, and even though she

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

    to the emissary of the Count planning to give his daughter to the Duke. On the contrary, it would be expected that the Duke would hide any murder that he had committed (especially if it were only for the reason that his wife had not lived up to his expectations)

  2. Analysis of My Last Duchess by Robert Browning.

    This clause, also sounding peculiar, tells us two things. The Duchess looks out at us, the viewers, directly from the painting; and her depiction there is life-like, that is, we might be looking at a living person rather than a work of art. Yet wouldn't Ferrara say "life-like" or "true to life," if that was simply what he meant?

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