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

Comparing Browning's "Porphyrias Lover" and "My Last Duchess".

Extracts from this document...


Brownian lover- Porphyria?s Lover and My Last Duchess ________________ Robert Browning reveals insights and an unusual interpretation concerning the concept of love. The two romantic relationships described in "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" is comparable in certain areas, however each poem reveals contrasting ideas about the concept of love. Both poems are monologues and reveal the complex nature of the love with its different aspects of jealousy, vanity, pride, obsessive desire, beauty, and flirtatious behavior. Browning inflates and explodes romantic egotism: the lover kills the woman, not himself. But the death that preserves the woman's compliance is but a celebration of the romantic male speaker's desire to fix and possess the female beloved. Romantic poetry idealizes the woman who is subject to the male gaze as she is the reflector of the male identity. He creates the illusion and provides the illustration of how an act conventionally referable to insanity might be the act of a rational being following the dangerously idealized notions of love. ...read more.


The death of the Duchess was a cold, calculated move by the Duke to remove the source of his jealousy. She did not value his nobility and all that it stood for; she did not deserve her position as Duchess, or live up to the responsibilities that her noble stance required. ?She thanked men, - good! But thanked Somehow - I know not how - as if she ranked my gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name with anybody?s gift.? The Duke describes how people are surprised by her seductive, passionate glance, and he gets very jealous when people admire the painting, thus he decides to hide the portrait behind some curtains and he acts like he still owns her in the way that he would own an object. He has, in his imagination, reduced his wives unimaginable beauty and grace, to a mere possession. ?The depth of passion in that earnest glance, But to myself they turned, since none puts by the curtain I have drawn for ...read more.


Browning's presenting the reader with an unreliable narrator serves only to intensify the psychological effects of his unrequited love, and says nothing for the supposed convictions and yearnings of Porphyria. While Porphyria finds her way to the speaker through the symbolically oppressive weather of the outside world, the speaker kills her upon realizing not only society's restrictions on their relationship, and maybe also his belief of Porphyria's own unwillingness to love him fully. Thus in freezing the moment and liberating the two of them from social structures, Browning distorts the deed to a point where it appears to be a divine event foreseen even by God. In toying with Porphyria's dead body, the narrator relates not the coldness of sudden death, nor the warmth of sitting with his love, but the blazing, untouchable serenity of enacted passion. While the suggested insanity of the speaker would traditionally indicate the narrator's unreliability in a moral sense, Browning constructs the isolated scene such that the lover's emotional internalization is understandable. ...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. comparing porphyria's lover and the sisters

    If she did this she would be a fallen women and would be disgraced. Therefore she doesn't want to do this because of the harsh consequences that she would face. This could also where we can start to see the narrator being jealous of Porphyria because of her higher social standing.

  2. Compare and contrast Porphyrias lover and My last Duchess

    Again the jealously comes from the man in "My Last Duchess". The duchess is easily pleased by anyone for simple things, such as "the white mule she rode round the terrace all and each would draw from her alike approving speech, or blush".

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

    This overtly elucidates her higher-class status over her lover. Porphyria's lover is the narrator in this dramatic monologue. The reader learns that his emotions for Porphyria are very strong almost obsessive, which gives a romantic mood to the poem. This is set in divergence against the duke in ' My Last Duchess'; he is a formal, cold- hearted man, who despised his late wife, and her lust for life.

  2. A Comparison Between 'Porphyria's Lover' And 'The Laboratory'

    'I propped her head up as before Only this time my shoulder bore Her head, which droops upon it's still: The smiling rosy little head, So glad it had its utmost will, That all it scorned at once is fled, And I its love am gained instead.'

  1. Comparing and Contrasting My Last Duchess and Porphyrias Lover

    While from the outset, these seem like relatively small themes for poetry that was written to challenge and provoke thought, when one stops and thinks about it, they are truly huge thing to try and tackle within a poem. Merely with class there is the idea of relationship, inter-action, and personality.

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

    'Dark green' is used to describe her eyes, but also to show her jealousy and her thirst for revenge. 'Puce curses' describe the coldness of being alone and the pain she suffers. After using these colours, the tone changes and turns to pure 'white veil'.

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

    He has killed her in his own way which quite unusual. Not everybody would strangle someone to death by their own hair. In the poem My Last Duchess obsessive love is shown, as the Duke is still admiring his wife who died 3 years ago, by looking at her picture which is painted on the wall.

  2. Jealousy and obsessive love is a theme in Porphyria's Lover and the Duchess of ...

    She 'glided in' and 'shut the cold out', which denotes the ease with which she enters and the control she has over her actions. The sibilance in 'She shut' signifies how strong she is, but paradoxically the soft 's' sounds undermine this power she has.

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