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

Compare Browning's portrayal of the men and their relationships in 'My Last Duchess'and 'Porphyria's Lover'

Extracts from this document...


Compare Browning's portrayal of the men and their relationships in 'My Last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's Lover' Robert Browning's poems 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'My Last Duchess' are both written in the form of dramatic monologues. This is when one speaker tells the poem to either a real audience or an implied audience. This means the poem is from one perspective and shows how the men want to mould the women into their own perceptions of how they should behave. 'Porphyria's Lover' is told to an implied audience whereas the duke in 'My Last Duchess' is making his speech to a servant. Browning writes both poems in this form in order to silence the women in the poems, portraying the men as controlling and the women as vulnerable. This silencing of the women portrays how women were treated throughout the Victorian period. Women rarely had a strong voice to air their opinions, especially in marriage. Both poems have a definite rhyme scheme. 'Porphyria's Lover' has an ABABB rhyme scheme. This emphasises the desire of the lover narrating the poem to be with Porphyria. The A rhymes want to be together, however the B rhymes are sending them apart. The lines of the poem with B rhymes are also indented emphasising how they are being driven apart mainly by the difference in the couple's social status but also by how they are not married. ...read more.


He also says that his wife 'ranked/My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name/ With anybody's gift.' The duke doesn't think that his wife appreciated her title as a duchess. Browning's poems both end with the death of the women, due to the struggle over power between the couples. In 'Porphyria's Lover', the anonymous lover wants Porphyria's attention, however he does not get any: 'And laid her soiled gloves by, untied/Her hat and let the damp hair fall'. The monotonous list of Porphyria's actions, emphasised with the use of enjambment, the lack of end-stops and the repetition of 'and', irritates the lover. The lover sulks when she 'called me'. There is a caesura, which represents the silence when he does not answer her. She does give him attention later on, trying to get him out of his mood. Porphyria is too proud to love her lover because she is from a different social background: 'Too weak, for all her heart's endeavour,/To set its struggling passion free'. He loves her but she does not recognise his love. Porphyria treats her lover like a puppet, by making him do things: 'She put my arm about her waist'. Her lover resents this difference between them. However later there is a switch in power and the rhythm changes to illustrate this: 'at last I knew/ Porphyria worshipped me'. ...read more.


We see the shift in power. 'Only, this time my shoulder bore/ Her head'. This makes Porphyria sound like a doting, subservient woman. However, the two didn't expect to be together in death: 'she guessed not how/ Her darling one wish would be heard.' In death, Porphyria has swapped her scorn for her lover's low position for his love. The lover feels no guilt: 'And yet God has not said a word!' He has not been judged by God and therefore thinks he has done the right thing. Her lover preserves the moment and is fixated on it. He does not think of the consequences. In 'My Last Duchess', the duke is in search of a new wife. The duke is confident he will receive a generous dowry from his new wife. He does not tell the new duchess how to behave but he tells the story of his last duchess to his future wife's servant, so that he can warn her. The repetition of the 'c' sound in 'Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze' creates a trapped feeling for the duke's new wife. There is a sense for the future, however it is not hopeful for the wife. These two poems show how two men deal with similar situations comparably. The poems are not very realistic because Browning has used extreme examples to show how men controlled women in Victorian times, but I think Browning wrote these poems in this way to show that it is ridiculous to try and control everything women do. Jordanne Young ...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 ...

    Although, for his lover it becomes apparent that she merely needs a man in the 'world of men' and perhaps he cannot meet her requirement. The time in which these poems are written shows me the difference between men's and women's status and behaviour towards one another, and how this is today.

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

    The reader sees this factor from the use of fractured syntax along with pauses in language, which is highlighted with,' she had/ a heart... how shall I say?...', the Duke is struggling to describe the Duchess to the suitor and finds it hard to articulate his feelings.

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

    The duke seems oblivious to the things that should matter to him. He is cold hearted and arrogant. Next, the poem contains brackets with extra points. This information did not need to be included; these comments may just be extra points at which he reveals more than he intends to the audience.

  2. Discuss Browning's ethical position in "The Statue and the Bust".

    He argues that the supreme purpose of God for man is the formation of his character; and that this can be achieved only through a moral struggle, centring on choice between good and evil.

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

    fellow indicating that they could have been friends only he was perceived as a foe on the battle field. His attitude is one of that he regrets his killing and is trying to justify it " Just so: my foe of course he was; that's clear enough" He is trying

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

    death, as if he was proud of it because it was necessary to uphold his reputation. The language of phrasing in 'Porphyria's Lover' helps to set the atmosphere of the poem and enables one to see through the eyes of her lover.

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

    These concerns reflected Victorian society's new emphasis on empiricism. In its scholarly detail and its connection to the past Browning's work also implicitly considers the relationship of modern poets to a greater literary tradition. At least two of Browning's finest dramatic monologues take their inspiration from moments in Shakespeare's plays,

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

    It had been ages since I'd last sewn. Since my girl's were born, I'd kind of given up sewing but now I was pleased, satisfied and charmed. My little girls were waiting for me, eager to see me in my new dress. I swiftly put my dress on with my servant's help and turned around to look at myself in the mirror.

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