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

The art of the dramatic Monologue is to create a character who reveals himself in what he has to say. How far do you agree with this statement in terms of the two Robert Browning poems you are:

Extracts from this document...


The art of the dramatic Monologue is to create a character who reveals himself in what he has to say. How far do you agree with this statement in terms of the two Robert Browning poems you are: "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover". Robert Browning is one of the most celebrated poets of the Victorian age. His two poems I am working from, "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover", are just samples of his eminent work. Browning wrote a range of monologues when living in Italy with his wife, Elizabeth Barret. Dramatic monologues are the basis of the essay. I will discuss whether (or not) each poem "creates a character who reveals himself in what he has to say". My Last Duchess is a monologue spoken by the Duke. He talks about his relationship with his recently deceased wife. Through the words of the poem, he reveals the true demise of the Duchess and the reader is shown the Duke's feelings and opinions of this woman. Porphyria's Lover is also about the death of a woman. It involves a possessive lover who wishes to enshrine a moment of love. Though his method is everything but normal. Both poems are filled with rhyming couplets, however with the technique of enjambment, they are almost undetectable. This is a clever and subtle insinuation to the murderous deed in hand. I would first like to comment on the titles of both poems. My Last Duchess can give many hints to what the poem regards. The word 'My' can symbolise the Duke's wish to own the Duchess and using "My" creates this image. "Last" may make the reader think that she is the latest in a long line of wives, or that she is the last wife once and for all. Porphyria's Lover is left unnamed. Using 'Duchess' the reader can imagine that the male character is a Duke and therefore he has a title and a label. ...read more.


When complaining of this same thing, he commented on this very thing in comparison with his own proposal: "as if she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody's gift." The "nine-hundred-years-old name" he speaks of, is a marriage proposal and the chance to have his surname as her own. This, he saw as the most superlative gift that could be given. What the Duke fails to understand is his wife's mind and how she classes things differently to him. As the Duke becomes lost in his own anger, I feel that he is quite unaware that he is slowly enlightening the reader/listener on his veritable form. He seems extremely conceited in reference to the marriage proposal. He feels there could be no better offer given to her, yet she still doesn't give him the gratitude he thinks he deserves. He is also very pretentious when deciding how to deal with his wife's flippant behaviour. When talking to his listener about his thoughts on actions that should be taken, he declares: "I choose Never to stoop." The Duke feels that it is beneath him to even think of telling her to change her frivolous ways. He wished her to be 'lessoned' by her own accord and not with him telling her his opinions. I think the Duke believed that because of his high status, he should not need to lower himself in becoming a teacher of righteous ways. However, his choosing not to "stoop", leads to him committing a grave sin, to make his notion clear to her once and for all. He speaks of her smiling to all passers by and how this smiled did not differ when he passed her. He says: "Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile?" I think the Duke did find the Duchess beautiful and this is one reason behind the painting made of her. ...read more.


The last two lines of the poem are deplorable in Browning's religious society. The Lover feels that if his behaviour was indeed immoral, God would have condemned him by now, saying: "And thus we sit together now, And all night long we have not stirred, And yet God has not said a word!" The Victorian period was extremely religious and this would have been a shocking thing to write, as murder is a sin not to go against. It also sounds as if Browning himself does not condemn this man for his actions, or finds them acceptable. I feel both poems do have a character that reveals him in what they have to say. Similarly, the language and structure of each poem can give hints to their characters. Both men, however, are very different. The Duke is obsessively jealous and longs for power above everyone else. He reveals himself unintentionally, letting himself become angered by his late wife's behaviour and thus letting the mask slip away revealing the man he truly is. The anonymous Lover is possessively insane. He is driven only by his love for Porphyria. He feels restrained by society and feels that the moment she declares she is his; he cannot let it slip away. Time is against him and he had to find some way of keeping her perfectly preserved and unchanged. The Lover also reveals his rebellion against religion and God, thinking that God will not condemn him, as his deed was not wrong. I prefer Porphyria's Lover to My Last Duchess, as the Duke is terribly arrogant and pedantic. The Lover, I believe, truly loved Porphyria with all his heart, though it is baffling why he felt death was the only option. Whereas the Duke, did not love his wife but saw her as a possession to show off in front of people. The painting must surely work the way he wants it, as it is another thing to show off. ...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. Love Relationships: a Comparison Between the Victorian and the Contemporary Couple in A.S Byatt's ...

    Actually, "there was no doubt that there was a marital, or honeymooning aspect to their lingering. Both of them were profoundly confused and very ambivalent about this. [...] They had run away together, and were sharply aware of the usual connotations of this act" (p.421).

  2. The two poems I have chosen on the theme of love are 'Porphyria's Lover' ...

    Whereas nowadays if you did that everyone would not think any less of you and it's known to be normal. By doing this she made the man think that she wanted him to see all of her flesh and that he felt happy and wanted because of the provocative way that she was acting.

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

    her yellow hair This presentation of her being irresistible gives a feeling that the speaker is compensating for something, giving us his reasons for something that is yet to occur; its some sort of weak justification. The speaker in 'Porphyria's Lover' is also jealous of her, but acts more rashly.

  2. The two poems that I am comparing are Porphyria's Lover and My Last Duchess, ...

    She tells him how much she loves him and how she has left the "gay feast" at her home, and come to him "through wind and rain" - a symbol for the difficulty in moving from one social class to another, because she could feel his need for her: "A

  1. 'Why would someone wait until marriage to have sex? What benefit is there? Why ...

    "...Religion is not the only reason to abstain until marriage. I'm religious, Catholic as a matter of fact, but I didn't make the decision to abstain until marriage because the Church told me to. I made the decision because I know that I don't want to have to deal with

  2. Compare the poems 'Remember' and 'A woman to her lover' - What do you ...

    The image 'Gone away' suggest she is going away for good and going to die 'Silent land' suggest a figure of heaven, somewhere peaceful hard to reach. 'Remember' is a poem that shows images of sadness, death and remembrance. I am now going to discuss about the poem 'A woman

  1. Compare and contrast "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria" by Robert Browning.

    The language has changed from regality and ceremony, in the seemingly safe stately home of the duke, in MLD, to the disturbing, uneasy and dramatic weather in PL. We gain an insight into the mood of the forthcoming poem in PL by the way Browning personifies the weather to give

  2. Comparison between 'My Last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's Lover'

    latest acquisition - a new bronze in the shape of Neptune, the mythical Roman god of the sea. I think by doing this the Duke is making a sly reference to his own aims in capturing his next wife. I believe he thinks of himself as Neptune; powerful and ruling,

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