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

Compare my last duchess and Porhyria's lover considering in particular how the 2 central characters are presented.

Extracts from this document...


Compare my last duchess and Porhyria's lover considering in particular how the 2 central characters are presented. Both poems, "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" have similarities and differences. This can be seen in the themes, the two central characters, content and language. In "My Last Duchess" the Duke, a rich upper class man, is talking to a messenger of a count whose daughter he wishes to marry. This poem begins in front of his last Duchess painting, which is on the wall in the Duke's home. Throughout the poem, we discover the characteristics of the Duke and learn about the murder of the Duchess. "Porphyria's Lover" however begins in the lover's cottage. The poem describes a night they spent together and the murder of Porphyria. Throughout this poem, we also learn about the characteristics of the Lover. Both poems are linked through the murder of Porphyria and the Duchess. Firstly, in "My Last Duchess", the Duke is domineering. This can be seen in "The curtain I have drawn for you, but I". This tells us that the duke was in control over who saw the painting because there was a curtain present over the painting. This can also suggest that the Duke, still, thought that he had control over his late wife. This also shows the Duke being selfish and powerful. ...read more.


However, it is not clear whether the Duke carried out the murder himself, but it seems to be a cold and calculated move. This is because of the broken syntax leading up to the Duchess's murder. This can be seen in "How shall I say?" and "In speech-(which I have not)-to make your will." Throughout, the poem we can see that the Duke has an adequate amount of words to express himself but just before the murder of the Duchess he is lost for words. Finally, it seems that the Duke wanted to exert his ultimate power on the Duchess. In doing so, the Duchess was murdered. The character in "Porphyria's Lover" is revealed in a similar way to the Duke's character in "My Last Duchess." The poem "Porphyria's Lover" builds up to the murder of Porphyria in a similar fashion to the murder of the Duchess. Firstly, the lover, like the Duke, wants to control and own his love. This can be seen in "Give herself to me forever." This suggests that he wants Porphyria above everything else and he would go to any extent to fulfil his desires. This also suggests that he is self-centred. We can see that the Lover has similar characteristics to that of the Duke in being obsessive. However, the Duke is obsessive about his possessions and gaining status. ...read more.


By contrast, the murder of the Duchess was cold and calculated. In fact after the murder, the Lover accomplishes his task of making Porphyria his own and carries on living as usual. This can be seen in "I propped her head up as before,/ Only, this time my shoulder bore/ Her head, which droops upon it still:" and "And thus we sit together now,/ And all night long we have not stirred,/ And yet God has not said a word!" We can see from these quotes that Porphyria, now completely belongs to the Lover. Finally, the language used here can help us establish something about the metal state of the lover. We can see that, unlike the Duke, he has psychiatric problems. His looking up to God could suggest he was trying to justify his actions by gaining God's support or he felt no guilt over what he had done. In conclusion, both characters in the poem have similar elements about them. They also have their differences. Both poems are dramatic monologues. This is when one speaker relates the entire poem as if it was another speaker presenting the speaker. They both carry a question of ambiguity. For example we are not certain whether the Duchess was flirtatious or whether Porphyria was proud. We are not told what exactly happens in both poems. Therefore, it is up to us to interpret what is happening in the two poems. Finally, any information, which we are given, comes from the narrator and this may not reliable. Rahul Bose ...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. How does Browning present the idea of love in 'The Laboratory' and 'My Last ...

    trick the woman she hates in a similar way to that which she believes she was deceived. The narrator is infatuated with power, greed and to have what suits herself. She is surprised by the amount, 'What a drop!' of the poison.

  2. Comparing and Contrasting My Last Duchess and Porphyrias Lover

    Things that gave her pleasure were of such a nature, that someone of her class should not have even noticed them. However, in Porphyria's Lover, the whole nature of the poem is that of inter-action between classes, up to the point of romantic relationships.

  1. Compare the presentation of relationships in My Last Duchess, Porphyrias Lover and ...

    In My Last Duchess the title is repeated throughout the poems many times and the use of possessive pronoun is significant as he feels he owns her. "That's my last Duchess painted on the wall" The 'my' in the quote shows us that she belongs to the duke and no-one else.

  2. Porphyria's Lover: A poem of its time?

    In this poem, the storm is described as if it were an angry and vicious child. By doing this, Browning sets an aggressive scene for the murder that follows. Browning also uses metaphors: "I listened with heart fit to break" This helps the reader to view the scene or understand a feeling by describing it as if is something else.

  1. How do the poems "Havisham", "The Sisters" and "Porphyria's Lover" present the theme of ...

    the most stereotypical type of what we would consider a 'mad' person to be like, as firstly he lives in a mental home. Also by using enjambment, Browning reveals the madness of the Lover, as he waffles on without any breaks.

  2. the madness and wickedness in each poem. This essay will include three of Robert ...

    He had already been married before he married his last wife; he did not love her and is only remarrying again for money not for love. He was a very clever man and worried a lot about money. He is a very cold and chilling character, he never admits to

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

    He is looking back on his time at war "But ranged as infantry and staring face to face" This also indicates that he is quite old as he has had a while to think about what happened and to talk about himself when he was younger.

  2. 'How effective an evocation of menace are the dramatic monologues 'My Last Duchess' and ...

    his marriage for money: '...no just pretence/Of mine for dowry will be disallowed' (line 45-46). What is also brought to note is that the Duke is a keen art collector: 'Notice Neptune, though,/ taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity...' (Lines 54-55).

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