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How do Robert Browing in Porphyria's Lover and Carol Ann Duffy in Human Interest present the emotions of love and jealousy?

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How do Robert Browing in Porphyria's Lover and Carol Ann Duffy in Human Interest present the emotions of love and jealousy? The first poem Porphyria's Lover begins with a very romantic tone, with a beautiful maiden meeting with a brooding young man. She then proceeds to light the fire, loosens her hair and reveals her shoulder, attempting to seduce him. Confused, he "debates" as to what he should do next and opts to strangle her with her hair. The second poem, Human Interest, concerns a prisoner sentenced to fifteen years for the murder of his unfaithful girlfriend. There are many similarities between the two poems. Firstly, both have a male persona detailing their romantic lives in a dramatic monologue. The effect of the first person narrative is to allow the reader a personal insight as to their state of mind during the murder, and how they feel reflecting upon their actions. ...read more.


Browning, one of the most revered poets from the Victorian age, is renowned for his dramatic monologues which explore the state of mind of historical or fictional characters. Porphyria's Lover is similar to My Last Dutchess, another dramatic monologue in which the duke describes the portrait of his deceased wife to the man who is negotiating the Duke's second marriage. There are hints throughout that the Duke may have been responsible for his wife's death. Carolyn Duffy has also written many dramatic monologues, usually in which she explores different personas and what it means to be a woman. The language used in each poem is diametrically opposed: the former includes old-fashioned phrases using correct grammar, and is written fluently in a romantic style. The other consists of much more modern language, the majority of which is non-Standard. It is unsophisticated and contains many grammatical errors and language which is widely regarded as taboo. ...read more.


This view could also be obtained by the same "Porphyria" which is the name of a hereditary disease in which the person who has it suffers extreme pain resulting in paralysis and temporary insanity. Interestingly, "Porphyry" is a purple, marble-like stone which is extremely valuable, confirming the belief that Porphyria herself is wealthy and upper-class. It could also be argued that, living in a patriarchal society, Porphyria would have been spoiled had she spent the night with her lover, and that her family may well have disowned or harmed her anyway. He wanted to preserve her purity forever, and the only way to do this would be by killing her. Human Interests, having been written in modern times, where women are equal, the man in seen as jealous and possessive. His inability to control her results in her death. It is easier to empathise with the murderer in the former, whereas we are uncertain as to the motives of the second. This is slightly disturbing, and although the situations in the poems are similar, the effect on the reader is extremely different. Marilyn Wilkinson ...read more.

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