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

Compare the two poem "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning. In what ways do they form part of the literacy tradition?

Extracts from this document...


Compare the two poem "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning. In what ways do they form part of the literacy tradition? Tom Griffin Both poems are dramatic monologues written by Robert Browning in the nineteenth century. A dramatic monologue is a poem written showing only one point of view, which is that of the narrator, and in "My Last Duchess" it is the Duke. Browning has carried on a tradition of dramatic monologues from Shakespeare. His soliloquies in "Macbeth" when he is alone and debating whether to kill the King or not. Also Allen Bennett produced a television programme entitled "Talking Heads" which shows one person talking to a camera, which is another example of a dramatic monologue. In the opening paragraph of "Porphyria's Lover" Browning describes a storm brewing outside by using words such as "vex, sullen, spite" which personifies a storm raging in the narrators head. We tend to think Porphyria has an unreal quality as she "glided" in which suggests she is very elegant, in comparison to the storm. She then "shut the cold out and the storm, and kneeled and made the cheerless grate blaze up, and all the cottage warm." The repetition of the word "and" suggests the narrators increasingly excited state of mind as one thought runs into the next. He is like the "cheerless grate" and wants to "blaze up" when he sees Porphyria, yet his pride permits him from doing so. ...read more.


This simile is affective as it conveys that he is frightened of what he may see in those eyes; accusation, pain, fear or hate. To his delight he sees "blue eyes without a strain" this shows she does not blame him and is almost like the Duke's painting, the perfect ideal. The murderer feels he has aided Porphyria as he has freed her from society. He feels that he has made her happy as he sees the blameless "smiling rosy little head." The final justification of his crime is that "God has not said a word" and seems himself to give consent. The rhyming pattern consists of two rhyming couplets, with the final line of the poem rhyming with the previous line. This helps to emphasise key stages of the poem and builds up climax. "My Last Duchess" tells a torrid tale of a young Duchess and her megalomaniac husband. The poem is a one sided conversation between the Duke and a representative of his next bride's family. The Duke firstly shows the servant a portrait of "my last duchess." The Duchess is shown to have "depth and passion in that earnest glance". This is ironic as it is an indirect contrast to the Duke's personality. He is portrayed as a cold and shallow person. The Duke then discloses that he can only view "the curtain I have drawn for you" which conceals the painting. ...read more.


The cold, detached statement, "and I choose never to stoop," shows that he could bear the humiliation no longer, so "all smiles stopped together." The Duke is now in a state where he has a warped personality and arrogance as he confesses murder yet knows his treasured name is his defence. The Duchess was not to blame for her downfall, as she had to live up to the Duke's impossible ideal, which she only now fulfils in portrait. Here the writer uses a sinister euphemism to describe the Duchess as just a portrait now. The poem is written in heroic couplets, and the formal vocabulary is in keeping with the Duke's nobility yet the tone is conversational. The Duke exercises his authority yet speaks politely to the Counts' representative even though he is socially inferior. The regular rhyming pattern shows that the Duke is the stereotypical helpless husband and is in firm control of him. The sophisticated language reaches a climax when the Duke requests the dowry; "the count's known munificence is ample warrant" for a respectable dowry and a bride who likes that dowry will be his ultimate possession. There are a few comparisons between the two pieces. Firstly they both involve their partners murdering the women of the relationship. Secondly, both men are extremely jealous. They cannot bare the person they love being with anyone else that hurts them emotionally. The only way they can stop this is to kill them. ...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. Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning - an Analysis and exploration of the poem and ...

    and is personified as spiteful, it attempts to 'vex' or anger the lake (3-4). The speaker himself is near heartbreak. Porphyria tries to change the mood. She glides in, starts the fire, tries to talk to her lover, and then sits beside him and arranges his head on her shoulder, her hair around them both.

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

    This woman describes the church as 'drear' and 'Empty', she finds no comfort in her religion, and this may be because she understands her immorality is wrong, but feels no remorse so chooses not to turn to the church to obtain help.

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

    The two narrators in the poems are similar in their attitudes towards the women, in which they both show possessivness over them. From ' Happy and proud; at last I knew/ Porphyria worshipp'd me' is the instant at which the power in the poem transfers from the female to the male.

  2. Discuss Robert Browning's Studies of Male Jealousy in the Dramatic Monologues 'Porphyria's Lover' and ...

    This is taken for granted as she married him. He makes people look at her painting as they walk past as though he is proud of her. She makes the servant look twice at her last wife and says the habits that displeased him and then says something that implies that he murdered her.

  1. Demonstrate what the dramatic monologue form allows Robert Browning to achieve in his poetry

    "I was a baby when my mother died," he complains, "And father died and left me in the street." Locked up to paint in a monastery where he clearly doesn't belong, one emphasises when he pleads, "I could not paint all night" on hearing "A sweep of lute strings, laughs, and whifts of song."

  2. Compare & Contrast 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'My Last Duchess'. Which Poem do you Find ...

    what she has come through to be at the cottage that night. When she has finished she sits next to the man but it is she that calls to him, it is almost as if the man is nervous and uneasy in her presence.

  1. Using style and form, how do the Brownings evoke reader sympathy and moral judgement ...

    This indicates that in society he is not worthy of her, or that she enjoys her other life more than being with him. Sympathy is evoked by her preference to her "vainer ties" than him. He is portrayed as an outsider as Porphyria "was come through wind and rain" to reach his house.

  2. A comparison between "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning.

    the point in which the Lover murders Porphyria, "In one long yellow string I wound/ Three times her little throat around". This is bold compared to "My Last Duchess". In addition, here the use of enjambment is effective because it gives the reader the image of the yellow hair being

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