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Jealousy and obsessive love is a theme in Porphyria's Lover and the Duchess of Malfi. Analyse the poem closely making appropriate links to the Duchess Of Malfi.

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Introduction

Jealousy and obsessive love is a theme in Porphyria's Lover and the Duchess of Malfi. Analyse the poem closely making appropriate links to the Duchess Of Malfi. The theme of jealousy and obsessive love naturally becomes apparent through the opening lines of the poem, as Browning uses the pathetic fallacy of the 'wind' which 'tore the elm-tops down for spite' to personify human jealousy. The verbs associated with the 'wind' are 'awake', 'tore', and 'vex', as Browning juxtaposes nature with human qualities to show how they are similar - they are both capable of becoming destructive over what they possess. The wind destroys the 'elm-tops', but Porphyria's lover goes to the extent of murder. This is enhanced by the deliberate emotional breakthrough that Browning makes in his dramatic monologue, when he describes how he 'listened with heart fir to break'. ...read more.

Middle

The lover is powerless because he has to wait for Porphyria to come to him. Browning uses the repetition of 'And' at the beginning of each line to emphasize how Porphyria's actions were ongoing and never ending, as if though she was always going to be on a higher level than her lover. When she 'called' for him, 'no voice replied' and here Browning establishes the lover's depressed and low state of mind. But passion blinds the lover to all sense of reality and he starts a chain of thinking that leads him to believe the Porphyria is truly in love with him. He thinks that she came to him to save herself from her destiny and family. "All in vain' shows how the lover has very little reality left in his mind. His obsessiveness becomes clear when he describes how he wanted her to 'give herself to' him 'forever'. ...read more.

Conclusion

The lover strangles her to preserve her innocence and the alliteration in 'Perfectly pure', enhances that moment of bliss the lover endures. Browning's idealization of the death-in-bliss is a definite indication of the lover's true obsessivesness over his love for Porphyrio. Moreover he 'propped her head up as before', in an attempt to regain control. Similarly in the 'Duchess of Malfi' Ferdinand attempts to regain control by murdering the Duchess. Therefore both death and sustaining power are key parallels between the poem and the Duchess of Malfi, which illustrate how jealousy and obsessive love will only become destructive to the self. However Browning adopts a simple and flippant tone when he describes 'No pain felt she'. The lover shows no indication of remorse over his actions and on this level Browning shows that he has no conscience, especially when he denies his guilt by ending on the note that 'God has not said a word!'. ...read more.

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