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Comparisons of two poems By Robert Browning.

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PRE-TWENTIETH-CENTURY POETRY COMPARISONS OF TWO POEMS BY ROBERT BROWNING Analysis will be accomplished with two poems written by the poet Robert Browning. The titles of both pieces of poetry are called "My last Duchess" and "Porphyria's lover". The narrator in both poems is speaking in the 1st person, amplifying and confessing from the viewpoints of each of the main male characters portrayed in each poem. Mutually the poems display male dominance, along with their arrogance and control of the situation throughout the poems. Traditionally this was probably a typical style used by pre-twentieth-century poets and writers, whereby the man is portrayed as being strong and the woman being weak. Equally the men in these poems apply rhyming couplets and melodramatic monologue whilst describing their feelings. They are controlled and show their fascination and domination over their lovers' lives, as they callously manipulated their love. ...read more.


In "Porhyria's Lover", the murderer wanted to capture the moment of happiness and pride she had displayed to him, prior to her death "murmuring how she loved me" (line 21). He achieved this by ridding her of her last breathe "that moment she was mine, mine, fair, perfectly pure and good" (lines 36-37). In killing her he has ensured that she will love him in death, where as he would have no control if she may at some point stop loving him in life. Both poems show that there are no class barriers when it comes to love, life and death. Although in one poem the murderer is upper class and in the other poem the murderer is lower class. Both men are guilty of murder, in the case of the upper class man he had someone else to do his unscrupulous work for him "I gave commands; then all smiles stopped together" (lines 45-46). ...read more.


The distortion in "Porphyria's Lover" comes about by permitting the reader to assume, in the beginning, that the poem is romantic and sentimental whereas at the end we ascertain that his love is obsessive and deranged. The murderer feels that he must kill her in order to keep her love eternally, devoid of him realizing (either through vanity or insanity), that taking her life is the same as taking her love and extinguishing it. In "My Last Duchess", the Duke's love is much more restrained in love, but is equally as menacing. The Duke boasts about all of his possessions, together with the last Duchess, he has no regard for anyone or anything other than himself and what he can get from life "and seemed as they would ask me, if they durst" (line 11). I feel no pity for either of the villains, as their selfishness repulses me. I do however feel immense sympathy for the two women that became their victims in both life and death. Michelle Greenfield PAGE |1 23/04/2003 ...read more.

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