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Compare and contrast the poems 'My Last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's Lover'.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the poems 'My Last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's Lover' By Robert Browning These poems by Robert Browning were written in the Victorian era. The Victorians from the outlook seemed to live on high standards and rules, but underneath they craved for scandal and gossip. Robert Browning gave this to them through his poems. They were filled with adultery, passion, sexual tension and murder. 'Porphyria's Lover' starts off with pathetic falacy which reflects the narrators mood, he does this by using personification which also sets the scene. "Sullen wind was soon awake," "Did it's worst to vex the lake" Although outside the weather is described as being harsh and fierce, Porphyria brings a comforting warmth to the house. "Made the cheerless grate blaze up, and all the cottage warm." The start of 'My Last Duchess' doesn't initially set the scene like in 'Porphyria's lover' but it introduces the main theme of the poem, the Dukes last Duchess. "That's my last Duchess on the wall, looking as if she were alive." ...read more.

Middle

He positions her as she was before only now he is in control of her. " I propped her head up as before, only, this time my shoulder bore her head. "He sits with her for the rest of the night and has come to the conclusion that he has done the right thing. "And all night long we have not stirred, and yet God has not said a word. " We learn about the Duke in 'My Last Duchess' by what he says and how he says it. Through him, we also learn about his wife, the last Duchess. We work out something of how their relationship stood, what his expectations were, how she responded, etc. we learn a great deal about his character by hearing how he thought and felt about her. The Duke is manipulative, filled with family pride. "My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name. Similarly to Porphyria's lover - a feeling of ownership over even the memory of his deceased wife. "That's my last Duchess painted on the wall." ...read more.

Conclusion

She sees that as more as a gift than her husband's name. "My gift of a nine-hundred-year-old name." I do not believe she loved her husband. "She smiled, no doubt, whene'er I passed her; but who passed without much the same smile." In contrast Porphyria loved her lover. In the end the Duchesses want for independence eventually lead to her death. The Duke saw her as I trophy bt did she see him as anything more than a safe and easy life? The scene in 'Porphyria's Lover' makes the house feel safe and warm from the storm, she comes in and shuts the out the cold and starts a fire, giving a warm glow to the small cottage. But it is a false security because no one could prepare for what would happen inside. The scene in 'My Last Duchess' feels very uptight, it is in a very wealthy house, looking at prestigious artists work. It has a verry different feel to 'Porphyria's lover' In conclusion, because the Victorians craved for such scandal these poems were written. They both contain affairs, women trying to overpower men, murder and above all, the idea that the Victorians regimented lives were not always as they seemed. By Kate Lloyd ...read more.

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