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Poem Comparison

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"Discuss how any two poems you have studied explore the theme of love paying particular attention to form and structure rhythm and metre, language and any other important poetic devices." In this essay it will compare different poetic devices the two poems use to explore love. I have chosen to compare "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning written between 1812 and 1889 (the Victorian period) with Shakespeare's "Sonnet XVIII" in 1558-1603 (the Elizabethan period.) Both poems have the theme of love; however they are different types of love. In Porphyria's lover the love that is talked about is deranged and twisted: "In one [...] and strangled her." This poem also suggests a possessive obsessive type of love for example "That moment she was mine, mine, fair." The message of this poem seems to be that 'the lover' does not want to lose Porphyria so it's so twisted he would do anything to keep her there forever. Social content is very important in Porphyria's lover. As it was written in the Victorian period, social classes were evident. Upper class stayed upper classes; lower class stayed lower class and middle class stayed middle class. ...read more.


In Porphyria's lover the form is obviously a dramatic monologue which helps us explore love further as dramatic monologues are used to figure out more about the speaker's character rather than just what they are talking about. It has 60 poetic lines that help the reader travel through the poem getting to grips with the disturbed events that love has driven 'the lover' to do. Browning has structured his poem in a very clever way. He starts by foreshadowing the poem. The dark, cruel weather outside, "tore the elm tops down for spite" suggest something else threatening may be to come for Porphyria. Browning then goes to where Porphyria is deemed to be in a safe environment "she shut out the cold and the storm, and kneeled and made the cheerless grate Blaze up, and all the cottage warm" however as you read on it is clear Porphyria is far from safe inside the cottage. The poem is clearly structured to walk us through a sexual affair that perhaps is more to Porphryia's lover than it is for her. ...read more.


The poem flows well controlled by the poet during the first and second quatrains. The first quatrain talks about is where the first romantic love expression comes across within the first line. Shakespeare quickly discovers that she is better than a summer's day, "Thou art more lovely and more temperate." In the second quatrain the poet puts across how life is changeable with ups and downs, "every faire from faire some-time declines." This sets up and mood that is completely contrasted when hit quatrain three. Instead of things change, here Shakespeare is saying you will not change; you are immortal. "By thy eternal summer shall not fade." Contrast plays a big part in the exploration of love for example Shakespeare also contrasts comparing the lover to a 'summers day' that thought is soon destroyed by "summers lease hath all too short a date." It is evident the poet is saying for as long as this poem exists so shall you. You shall never die. "Nor shall death brag thou wand 'rest in his shade." In the final couplet it enforces this theme of immortality of the speakers love, "so long lives this, and this gives life to thee." ...read more.

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