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

Discuss how the Speakers in Both Dramatic Monologues reveal their Characters and Actions to the reader. Compare and Contrast the Duke in "My Last Duchess" with the Lover in "Porphyria's Lover."

Extracts from this document...


Discuss how the Speakers in Both Dramatic Monologues reveal their Characters and Actions to the reader. Compare and Contrast the Duke in "My Last Duchess" with the Lover in "Porphyria's Lover." Robert Browning was born in 1812 in Camberwell, a suburb of London, to middle-class parents. His literary career began in 1833 with the anonymous publication of the long poem 'Pauline: A Fragment of a Confession'. This was followed by three other long poems. All three of these early works met with mostly negative reviews. However Browning's reputation was established in 1868-69 when he published 'The Ring and the Book.' These were a series of dramatic monologues, which proved to be so popular, that from 1868 onwards he was regarded as one of England's greatest living poets and as a poet, he was very successful at writing romantic poetry. Near the end of his life he received various honors including a degree from Oxford University and an audience with Queen Victoria. Following his death in 1889 during a stay in Venice, he was buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey. In Browning's dramatic monologues, 'Porphyrias Lover' and 'My Last Duchess' there are many similarities, but there are also many contrasts. The settings of the poems are one aspect that is remarkably different between both of Browning's works. ...read more.


He convinces himself that she didn't feel pain "No pain felt she; I am quite sure she felt no pain" he says this to himself as if to justify what he has done. It is quite chilling that after he has killed her he does not condemn himself or feel as though he has done anything wrong "as God has not said a word!" He now has the possession and control over her that he always wanted, "we sit together now, And all night long we have not stirred," The poem, My Last Duchess has a great likeness to Porphyria's Lover. We learn a great deal about the Duke's character by hearing how he thought and felt about his last Duchess. Through his speech, the reader can see how he is very jealous and controlling, which leads us to believe that he may have dishonorable qualities. The poem starts with the Duke describing the picture to the emissary. In the first few lines, we can already tell that the Duke is obsessed with power by his choice of words. He uses a lot of 'my' and 'I' which suggest that he is also very selfish. The Duke was very obsessive over his wife and wanted power and control over her: "I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together." ...read more.


The speaker talks highly of Porphyria and it is evident that he loved her dearly, as he felt that she "shut the cold out and the storm" and "made the cottage warm." He talks about her in a very sexual way. She returns home dripping wet and removes her outdoor clothing and "made her smooth white shoulder bare" and her "yellow hair displaced." The way that the speaker describes her shows the reader how much he admired her, which is very different to how the Duke talked about his wife. After looking at the two poems, it is clear that the speakers have many similarities and differences. The main contrast was the social status of the speakers. The Duke was very wealthy, lived in a mansion and was of high social status, whereas Porphyria's lover was not particularly rich and lived in a small cottage. Some of their personality traits also differed. The Duke was more arrogant and full of pride and I think this was due to his wealth. The speaker in 'Porphyria's Lover' loved Porphyria a lot and spoke fondly of her, however the Duke was not always as kind about his wife, and often spoke negatively about her. They also had similar traits such as obsession, possessiveness and a need for control over people. The Duke was unable to "tame" and control his wife and the lover was unable to possess Porphyria and these common characteristics of the two speaker's lead to the death of their loved ones. ...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 - Magistrate Confession Letter

    She sat down next to me, I put my arm around her and rest my head upon her shoulder. There, she revealed her true, long-lasting love to me, which she kept in secret for all those years. Yet, she was too weak to free herself from her pride to give herself to me.

  2. Porphyria's Lover Diary Entry.

    For the last year she has been running very close to the line to me doing this but she has just pushed me too far. She is one of those outstandingly pretty women, which you just can't help but stare at.

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

    The gentleman believed he had done no wrong because god would have interrupted him had he done. The theme of this poem is the study of insanity. ~What makes the man appear to be insane is how he carried out a murder, completely unprovoked and in a calm state of mind.

  2. "Porphyria's Lover" and "The Laboratory"

    The lover thinks "again laughed the blue eyes without a stain" this is because he would rather think she did not suffer pain during her murder.

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

    The woman is making poison to kill her partner so it can kill him, as she was jealous. "Grind away, moisten and mush up thy paste/Where they are, what they do: they believe me tears flow" This indicates that she is rushing into making the poison as she wants the

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

    In the first part of the poem the female seems to be in control and have all the power. This notion is shown as it is she who makes the decision of when to meet her lover, he has no option but to sit and wait.

  1. 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.

  2. English Literature Coursework - My Last Duchess & Porphyria's Lover

    these quotes suggests that Porphyria's Lovers actions were unplanned and therefore he was not expecting her to worship him. Although he seems determined to kill her by wrapping her hair round her throat three times, he states that she felt no pain.

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