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GCSE English Literature Coursework Poetry pre -1914

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Introduction

Robert Harrison 11S GCSE English Literature Coursework Poetry pre -1914 Compare and contrast 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'The Willing Mistress' In this essay I am going to look at and compare two poems called 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'The Willing Mistress' which are both poems about sex and love as the titles suggest. 'Porphyria's Lover' is a description of events that is told by one person and was written by Robert Browning, who was a Victorian poet and is about a madman who strangles the woman who loves him. "The Willing Mistress" was written by Aphra Behn in about 1675, who was one of the first female writers and is about a woman who wants to have sex with a man. This poem was written during a time when women didn't write about sex, so it probably shocked people. Although both poets are writing about sex, they are different in the way they express the writers' feelings. 'The Willing Mistress' is from a woman's point of view and is more relaxed and gentle. On the other hand 'Porphyria's Lover" is from a man's point of view and is much darker and violent. ...read more.

Middle

These words seem to suggest that he is angry. In contrast, in 'The Willing Mistress' the atmosphere is lighter as it starts with the opening lines 'Amyntas led me to a Grove, Where all the Trees did shade us'' which tells the reader that it is a sunny day. Behn also uses personification by saying that "the Winds that gently rise, Doe Kiss the yielding Boughs" which has the effect of bringing the wind to life by kissing the branches. There is also a difference in the moods of the character in the next lines in each poem as in lines 5 and 6 in 'Porphyria's Lover' the man has a "heart fit to break" before Porphyria "glided" in, which shows that he is unhappy. It seems that Porphyria comes in and makes herself at home taking off her wet clothes and lighting the Fire without saying a word to him. Eventually she sits down next to him and "call'd me" but he doesn't say anything to her. In contrast in 'The Willing Mistress' lines 2 to 9 tell us that they are trying to not to be found by others by going to "The place secur'd from humane Eyes" ...read more.

Conclusion

In contrast in 'The Willing Mistress' the man responds to her flirting and kissing as he knows she wants to have sex with him but isn't rough with her as he 'lay'd me gently on the Ground' The poem ends happily and Behn teases the reader in the last line "Ah who can guess the rest?" which makes the reader think that they do have sex. 'Porphyria's Lover' ends with the man no longer being angry but realising that he loves her now she is dead when he says "That all it scorn'd at once is fled, And I, its love, am gain'd instead!". He seems to be calm now she is dead and sits with her body all night. The poems end with the line "And yet, God has not said a word!" which may suggest that he thinks he was right to kill her as God has said nothing as he doesn't seem to show any guilt about it. To conclude I feel that the poems are similar in many ways as they are both about sex and both use personification to bring things to life. However they have different structures and the mood and atmosphere in each poem is very different from each other. ...read more.

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