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

The two poems that I am comparing are Porphyria's Lover and My Last Duchess, both early nineteenth century dramatic monologues by Robert Browning.

Extracts from this document...


Compare the three dramatic monologues you have studied on the way in which the characters reveal their true nature through what they say. The two poems that I am comparing are Porphyria's Lover and My Last Duchess, both early nineteenth century dramatic monologues by Robert Browning. A dramatic monologue is a poem in which only one person speaks, but the presence of another person is usually felt. The narrator reveals a great deal about himself without any apparent intention of doing so. In both of these dramatic monologues, it appears that the speaker has murdered their mistress and is reflecting upon their actions while contemplating the image of their lover's beautiful face. Both are selfish men who were jealous of their victims. The two speakers came from very different backgrounds, one a rich and powerful Duke, the other a low-born worker living in rural simplicity. Porphyria's Lover is a love story told in the words of a simple man obsessed by his love for a woman of noble birth. The first five lines describe the weather on a miserable, wet evening. This is Browning's use of pathetic fallacy, giving the works of nature human feelings - the feelings of the speaker. "The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm tops down for spite, And its worse to vex the lake:" The speaker is longing for his lover and feeling miserable but then she arrives. The whole mood changes from darkness and cold, to warmth and light. ...read more.


The reader can assume that the lady is dead, "Looking as if she were alive" Like the murdered lover in the previous poem. The Duke begins describing the painting and the portrait sessions with the famous artist, there does not seem to be much regret for the loss of his wife. He keeps her portrait behind a curtain. "since no one puts by The curtain I have drawn for you but I" In this way he can control who looks at her and can appreciate her beauty. The Duke is slowing that his jealousy of his wife's admirers and his possessiveness, like that shown by Porphyria's Lover. The visitor has commented on the lovely expression on the Duchesses face. The speaker then remarks that it was not just "her husband's presence" that caused his wife's joyous blush. She was pleased by the complements paid to her by the painter. The Duke then proceeds to recount a list of his complaints about the former Duchess. "She had A heart - how shall I say? Too soon made glad, Too easily impressed; she liked what'er She looked on and her looks went everywhere" He criticises her, for the lovely smile she gave everyone, her politeness to others and for the pleasures she felt in all the kindnesses shown to her. She was happy with everything, sunsets, a branch of cherry blossoms and her "white mule". We have an indication of his irritation, "Sir, twas all one! ...read more.


In My Last Duchess, the Duke is selfish because he wants his Duchess to give all her smiles and affection to him, and value him more than anything else. The speaker in Porphyria's Lover does not show his love for Porphyria until the end of the monologue, after he had murdered her, when he seemed to become very passionate. In contrast, in My Last Duchess, the Duke does not seem to show any passion for the Duchess at all. If he shows any passion at all, it is for his art collection, which makes me think that was how he saw the young Duchess, a work of art, something that he owned and could show off, and something that he could also discard when it no longer pleased him. The speaker in Porphyria's Lover, reveals himself to be someone who speaks his heart and does not 'fence around' the truth like the Duke. Although the Duke says he does not have skilled speech, its is obvious that his diction is carefully chosen through out. He is almost inviting the listener to disagree with him. "Even had you the skill In speech - (which I have not)" The speaker in Porphyria's Lover uses a much simpler diction, as he will not have been as well educated as the Duke. Both men are murderers, one because of love, which he feels, could never be accepted because of the social divide, the other as a result of jealousy, arrogance and spite, again occasioned by the difference in class. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...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. Marked by a teacher

    "My Last Duchess" and "To His Coy Mistress" Compare the presentation of the men ...

    4 star(s)

    so he must sleep with this girl rather then sleeping with her for love. This idea is further proven when he says, "But at my back I always hear // Time's winged chariot hurrying near." This shows how he is frightened that his love won't last forever.

  2. Comparison of “Porphyrias Lover” and “My Last Duchess”.

    The quotation above is when Phorphyria's Lover realises what he is going to do to Phorphyria. He decides to strangle her "yellow string around Three times her little throat around..." and he does this thinking it is what she wants.

  1. Compare and contrast the way love is presented in My Last Duchess and two ...

    and then he explains why (the middle) and then he tells us that he murdered her (the end). The poet may have also used one whole stanza because the love is destroyed rather than made. First Love is the complete opposite of My Last Duchess. Firstly the rhyme scheme is different instead of AA, BB etc it has a pattern of AB, AB etc.

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

    The dropping of daylight in the West The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule She rode with round the terrace-all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech He considers that her positive thoughts on everything were a weakness, something he desperately disliked.

  1. Pre-Nineteenth Century Love Poems

    He became one of England finest preacher. He later dies in 1631. The Good Morrow written by John Dunne is an extremely romantic poem. It concentrates mainly on the emotional side of love. The man is telling his lover how strong there love is and how there love will never die; he portrays this by using language

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

    When Porphyria is dead, the Lover '..propped her head up as before, Only, this time my shoulder bore Her head, which droops upon it still' We can see a reverse of roles here, after her death, the Lover is supporting her head, a simile of his control over Porphyria now that she's dead.

  1. Love and Loss

    It is like nothing can compare to her love about him and that in the poem she does not say lover indicating that she is the only one she loves and no one else. The repetition of "my heart" makes the reader understand how the objects reflect and correspond to her life wit her lover.

  2. First Love' by John Clare, 'Porphyria's Lover' by Robert Browning,My Last Duchess' by Robert ...

    He paid great attention to her, like the man in 'First Love'; he took notice of everything about her including the way she entered. His views of the surroundings changed once 'Porphyria' was there, "She shut the cold out and the storm, And kneeled and made the cheerless grate Blaze

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