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

Explore the themes of love and loss in the poems "My Last Duchess", "Shall I compare thee…?", "Let me not" and "Porphyria's Lover".

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explore the themes of love and loss in the poems "My Last Duchess", "Shall I compare thee...?", "Let me not" and "Porphyria's Lover". The four poems that I have chosen to address love and loss are "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning, and "Shall I compare thee...?" and "Let me not" by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare's sonnets address eternal and true love, whereas Browning's poems explore the themes of passionate, consuming love and its consequences. Love can come in many different forms including true love, unfading love, eternal love, sexual love, platonic love and unrequited love. Feelings such as lust and infatuation can often be incorrectly identified as love, though that is not the case in these four poems, as even though all of the authors seem to be infatuated with the subjects of their poems to the point of obsession, there is also evidence in each of the poems that shows that they are in love to a certain extent. Loss has a wide number of definitions, including bereavement, failure and damage. Each of these types of loss are addressed in the four poems, mainly in "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover". ...read more.

Middle

This natural exuberance was probably the issue that initiated her husband's malcontent, but it is more that likely that it was his own overpowering obsessive nature, that caused her love for him to fade, which is shown by Browning's use of the simple metaphor, "...My favour at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West..." The use of this poetic device shows that the Duke knows, or thinks that he knows, that she looks encouragingly at other people and that he resents how they are taking his place in her heart. It would be wrong to assume that narcissism is the only form of love in this poem, because although "My Last Duchess" doesn't show love in the same pure form as in the sonnets or in "Porphyria's Lover", it is made obvious that the Duke feels something for his late wife in the way that he is so obsessed with keeping her for himself. We are introduced to the Duke's new inamorata at the end of the poem, and it is again made clear that he feels a form of desire, but this time it is not solely for her person, but for her dowry, which again adds a superficial egotistical air to the poem. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Lov's not Times fool, though rosie lips and cheeks Within his bending sickles compasse come..." It is through this personification that he makes love immortal. Assonance and alliteration have also been used to imprint the facts about love firmly into the readers mind, "Which alters when it alteration findes, Or bends with the remover to remove." He has also used a hyperbole in the rhyming couplet at the end of the sonnet, "If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved." This makes it unequivocal that he is correct in his description of love, because he has written and man has always and always will love. In conclusion, I can say that the two poets look at very different aspects of love, with Browning focusing on a more unusual and somewhat less publicized infatuous obsession of love, and Shakespeare on the seemingly more traditional version of true, eternal love. Loss is more focussed on in Browning's poems than in the two sonnets, not only because of the subject matter, but also because of the nature of the love. From this I can say that love and loss are closely linked together, with loss being a direct consequence of the way that you handle love that you bear. Emily Taylor 11B Mr Tucker ...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 Love Poetry 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 Love Poetry essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "My Last Duchess" and "To His Coy Mistress" Compare the presentation of the men ...

    4 star(s)

    It is much quicker paced with only three sentences that shows he is getting frustrated. Also the use of 'now' shows us his hurry, as if he is starting to run out of persuasive ideas, and the ones he has used has not worked.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    I am contrasting the poems, "My Last Duchess" and "On the Departure Platform". Both ...

    3 star(s)

    He describes a lack of respect, "as if she ranked my gift of a nine-hundred years old name, with anybodies gift." This portrays the Duchess as the kind of woman who doesn't judge people on their name, or on their rank in society, but on the kind of people they actually are.

  1. The two poems which I shall analyse and explore are, "Shall I compare thee ...

    The woman described is also beautiful, mysterious and seductive. Keats describes her as "full beautiful, a faery's child." She possesses a certain delicacy, as though she is a fairy, her beauty is almost supernatural. She, however, unlike Shakespeare's lover, is sinister, and their relationship was based on manipulation, games and lies.

  2. Comparison of “Porphyrias Lover” and “My Last Duchess”.

    "Half-flush that dies along her throat..." and "the depths of passion of that earnest glance". You also know that Phorphyria is beautiful and passionate because she has blonde hair and blue eyes. "In one yellow string..." and "Laughed the blue eyes..."

  1. Explore the various and surprising ways in which Browning deals with the theme of ...

    We can tell that the unnamed lover of Porphyria adored her, as the poem subtly described the way that he watched and took in every movement she made. This is emphasised by the repetition of the word "and" at the start of each line, followed by an action made by Porphyria, e.g.

  2. shakespeares sonnets

    This shows that Shakespeare is describing his lover's beauty in a completely opposite way. In "Sonnet 130" Shakespeare simply wants to show that some poets may exaggerate about how beautiful their lover is. Shakespeare wants to show that there are things that are more beautiful than a woman's appearance: "And

  1. How is the theme of love and loss explored in these poems: (a)My Last ...

    too, and fragrant zone/She look'd at me as she did love/And made sweet moan." These flowery images are similar to the ones used in 'Villegiature' to convey the feeling that love is natural and beautiful. However, the use of flowers in this ballad could also imply that just like they

  2. In this essay I will be discussing and comparing the poems 'My Last Duchess' ...

    The speaker in 'Porphyria's Lover' has a similar insight into his love interest. He is obsessed with her yellow hair, and he presents her as irresistible: And made her smooth white shoulder bare And all her yellow hair displaced, And, stooping, made my cheek lie there, And spread, o'er all,

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