• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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)

    They must respect and love only him. The speaker however, has a false attitude of love and respect, and keeps saying how women are needed to continue life, but underneath this mask, he really only thinks of them as sex objects, who he needs to give him pleasure in his lonely pitiful life.

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

    Secondly the poem has stanzas instead of one big paragraph. And lastly the poem is about a man wanting a woman rather than not wanting her.

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

    He then became obsessed with her resulting in psychotic actions, "In one long yellow string I wound Three times her little throat around, And strangled her." The sudden rush of his emotions because of her love brought about his violent actions as he wanted to keep her as his forever

  2. Compare And Contrast "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess"

    her as any gift from other men; '-as if she ranked My gift of a nine hundred year old name With anybody's gift.' The Dukes justification for killing the Duchess is because she didn't treat him, her husband, differently from the rest of the men.

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

    He could not go on without her. He also knew he couldn't have her, shown in the lines "Murmuring how she loved me.........

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

    Here Browning shows that the woman in the poem has an unusual power, mainly over the speaker as this is how he feels when she is around him, he feels warm and alive rather than cold and dark. It is mainly in the middle of 'My Last Duchess' that we

  1. Pre-Nineteenth Century Love Poems

    She doesn't use the idealistic perception of love, as she places love and Sorrow in the same category, but it still is a conventional poem as she emphasizes on love. She starts of the poem with a rhetorical question, immediately adding interest to the poem; she also starts with the theme of the poem "how do I live thee?

  2. "Consider the characteristics of two dramatic monologues that you have studied."

    But then our impression of the duke begins to change, when the duke goes on to criticise his wife. He does not like the fact that other things apart from him make her happy "twas not her husbands presence only, called that spot of joy."

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