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Compare and contrast ‘Human Interest’ and ‘Porphyria’s Lover’.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast 'Human Interest' and 'Porphyria's Lover'. In this essay, I will be examining two poems - 'Porphyria's Lover', by Robert Browning, and 'Human Interest', by Carol Ann Duffy. The poems, which are both dramatic monologues, have many similarities, but they also have many differences. 'Porphyria's Lover' first appeared in January 1836, whereas 'Human Interest' was written in the late 1900's. The murderers in 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'Human Interest' have some similarities, as well as many differences. I will examine the similarities first. The first similarity is that both murderers are almost certainly male, although there is more evidence in 'Human Interest' than in 'Porphyria's Lover'. I believe that both are male because in ''Human Interest'' the murderer talks about "the other bloke", implying that this persona is male, and in 'Porphyria's Lover' the killer strangles Porphyria. This suggests a degree of strength not commanded by nineteenth-century women. Also, homosexuality was not acceptable then, although this may go towards an alternative explanation as to why the two lovers can only meet in secret. I also know that both murderers loved their victims; the text in ''Human Interest'' clearly states "I loved her...my baby", and Porphyria's lover describes his "...love of her...". ...read more.

Middle

In 'Porphyria's Lover', the murderer kills Porphyria because she is "...too weak..." to free her heart's passion "...from pride, and vainer ties...". In other words, he commits murder because Porphyria has not got the willpower to leave her higher-class family to marry her one true love (the murderer), so he kills her to prevent her marrying someone else. Similarly, the murderer in 'Human Interest' kills his partner to prevent her from going off with another man. I will now compare and contrast the aftermath of the murders, paying particular attention to how the murderers feel, and what happens next. In 'Porphyria's Lover', the aftermath of the murder is portrayed very well, unlike 'Human Interest', which is summed up very quickly. We see that Porphyria's lover does something very unusual after he's carefully strangled her - he remains with her. Instead of panicking, he "...warily oped her lids...", and laughs at her unblemished "...blue eyes...". So, we see that he is happy, and we can also note that he is proud that he has not been discovered - "...and I, it's love, am gained instead ... yet God has not said a word". These are very strange feelings for someone who has just committed a terrible crime, and it suggests that he feels no guilt. ...read more.

Conclusion

informal, colloquial language is used. This gives the impression that the persona no longer cares, and can't even be bothered to speak properly. The text is also in a confessional style, which is typical of Duffy. 'Porphyria's Lover', on the other hand, is quite a formal style, and the persona is simply telling the story, without any obvious guilt. In 'Porphyria's Lover', Browning has used exaggeration for effect by having the persona say that he wound Porphyria's hair "...three times her little throat around...". I believe this to be exaggerated because, if it were true, Porphyria's hair would have to be about four feet long, which is ridiculous. There is no exaggeration in 'Human Interest', but there is a lot of isotropy - the persona repeatedly emphasised the point that he loved his victim. This is demonstrated in quotes like "I loved her", "my baby", and "...she wasn't a tart...". He also emphasises his angry reaction to her infidelity - "...thirty seconds to complete", "I stabbed", "she stank of deceit". Finally, both poets use enjambment, albeit irregularly. This shows long and deep, but slightly erratic, thought at times by both personas. After reviewing 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'Human Interest', I have found that they are very similar in many ways, although they do have their differences. Both poems are based on the theme of murder for love, and murder resulting from jealousy. Andrew Mugleston 27/04/2007 1 ...read more.

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