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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Lakshman Nandwani English poetry coursework Comment on Browning's presentation of power relationships between men and women in 'My last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's lover' 'My Last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's Lover' are both dramatic monologues presenting the poems as confessions with a single narrator in each poem. In these two poems, Browning tries to expose the truth behind what people have stereotyped men and women from the Victorian times and the Renaissance times. Men were seen to be the protector and provider and women were envisioned as passive people. On the outside, men seemed to have power and control, but in reality many of them were insecure and it was the woman who had the power. In 'My Last Duchess' the author presents the poem showing the Duke as a man with a lot of power especially against his wife and the envoy, he is talking to. In the title itself we can realise that the Duke thinks of his wife as a possession. The fact that "My" comes before "Duchess" shows one aspect of the relationship between the Duke and the Duchess. The poem has a structured rhyme scheme. There are ten syllables a line; therefore it is an iambic parameter. The rhyming meter is 'aa bb cc'. Even though the poem is structured evenly the rhyme is not realised as easily, yet it is fluent. The rhyming is every two lines. ...read more.

Middle

The phrase that said that the Duke gave orders to kill the Duchess is ambiguous. The Duke never stated that he killed her or that he planned to kill her. The Duchess's death is un-clarified because it isn't stated that the Duke killed her. If the painting of the Duchess represents her, then the Duke figuratively now has ultimate control over her. He decides who is to view the painting and when they are to view it "The curtain I have drawn for you, but I". Robert Browning has used a male narrator's voice throughout both poems to show that men were the traditional bearers of power in gender relationships. Men are looked as the active agent and women are seen as the passive, although it is a totally different case in modern times. Nowadays women have just as much rights as men do and this contrast makes the issue of power more effective. Also he is the only one talking. The envoy is another person involved in the poem but he doesn't say a word showing the Duke has control over him as well. "Who'd stoop to blame this sort of trifling?" All the questions phrased to the envoy are rhetorical. The last three lines are related to power which the Duke desires and believes he has a right to have. "Notice Neptune, though, taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, which Claus Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!" ...read more.

Conclusion

"Laugh'd the blue eyes without a stain." There is another sexual image mentioned however disturbing it may be. "Blush'd bright beneath my burning kiss" He doesn't realise perhaps that could be the blood that rush up when he strangled her. The confusion created by how he treats this dead woman is effective. Because she is dead he knows that he controls her. Here there is a power reversal. He feels he has done her a favour by killing her. Now she can't reject him. The last sentence is related to God. "And yet God has not said a word!" This shows he does not feel guilty for what he has done. It is sort of a minor religious conflict with God because he is threatening God in one sense. Browning relates to God as we think this is very strange act the character has committed. The meaning is always powerful when God is mentioned as God is an ultimate. The character is not getting punished for what he has done. In both poems there is an occurrence of death of the women significantly suggesting that men had more power as they were involved in the murder of their wives or loves. In 'My Last Duchess' the Duke hides the portrait of his wife behind a curtain and in 'Porphyria's Lover' the man hides the woman in his mind. In the female aspect of the poem they were socially superior to the men, who seemed to be insecure and lonely. In both poems the women sexually manipulated the men. This is another power reversal in these poems. ...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 ...

    The effect these poems have is one of which for me was surprising: firstly, this is lighter than Browning's other poems, however, the views of each are very different: 'As I gain the cover with pushing prow,' shows his eagerness.

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

    drawn for you, but I]', this reveals the Duke was still conscious of hiding the beauty of his wife away from any onlookers. He demonstrates complete control over the portrait, as it is only he who draws the curtain aside. It exposes the similarity of possessiveness between the two speakers.

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

    He indirectly still has power over her by means of the painting. If he doesn't want to look at her, the Duke can just draw the curtain to block her out. I believe this is similar by the way he behaved with her while she was alive.

  2. Perspectives On Women In Browning's Poetry.

    Fold me fast where the cincture slips Prison all my soul in eternities of pleasure' This plea on behalf of the poet is pure hyperbole as he is calling out to all women and yet no woman describing what in reality would be a momentary pleasure as an eternity, and this serves to exemplify the idealism in the verse.

  1. The four poems I have chosen are Hitcher, Education for Leisure, The man he ...

    Hitcher achieves the impression of ordinary speech by using modern and colloquial language "I thumbed a lift". Hitcher also uses enjambment to show that the sentence or phrase is continuous. In Education for leisure short sentences such as "Anything" to convey tension and aggression in the speaker's voice.

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

    So-called Victorian prudery arose as an attempt to rein in something that was seen as out- of-control, an attempt to bring things back to the way they once were. Thus everything came under moral scrutiny, even art and literature. Many of Browning's poems try to work out the proper relationship between art and morality: Should art have a moral message?

  1. My last duchess - original writing. We were running like the wind, our ...

    I'd looked splendid, it was like in a dream...my face, somewhat luminous, had a pale tone to it. The eyes were a piercingly sharp shade of blue. Eyebrows were arched over the curve before dispersing onto the bridge of my nose.

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

    the text we get a taste of the dukes bitterness and anger which he is trying hard to conceal. Those are when we see the real duke. In the monologue the duke tends to quote people but hinting sarcasm or making them a victim of ridicule.

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