“My Last Duchess” and "Porphria's Lover"

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Robert Browning

        In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting two Robert browning poems entitled “My Last Duchess” and "Porphria's Lover". These poems are both similar and different to/from each other. They are both dramatic monologues and are both concentrated around the death of a woman.

        The men both behave similarly even though they are different social classes. They are both responsible for the death of the woman but in "Porphria's Lover" the man does it himself “Three times her little throat around, And strangled her”. This also demonstrates his social class compared to the man in "My last Duchess" because he has to do it himself whereas the man in "My last Duchess” arranges for it to happen. “I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together”. Both men are paranoid about the woman in "Porphria's Lover" the man says “and vainer ties dissever”. Here he thinks that she won’t leaver her rich background for him whereas in "My last Duchess" the man is worried about here leaving him “too easily impressed”. Both men are possessive of the women. “That moment she was mine, mine”. This is one example of possessiveness from "Porphria's Lover" .The recurrence of the words me, my, mine and I show the possessiveness of the man in "My last Duchess". Each of them tries to capture an image of the woman. In "Porphria's Lover" the man tries to capture a mental picture after he kills her. “her cheek once more blushed bright beneath my burning kiss”. Whereas in "My last Duchess" the duke captures a visual image “My last Duchess painted on the wall”. Neither of the men shows any remorse for what they have done. “And thus we sit together now” the man in "Porphria's Lover" says this after he kills the woman. The plain fact that the man in "My last Duchess" is telling someone what he has done shows he does not regret it.

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        The men also have many differences. The man in "My last Duchess" is upper class whereas the man in "Porphria's Lover" is lower class. The man in "Porphria's Lover" kills for love. On the other hand the man in "My last Duchess" kills out of embarrassment or jealousy“ I know not how-as if she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody’s gift”. Due to his social stature the man in "Porphria's Lover" will probably be hung for the murder or kill himself for fear of being hung. Whereas the duke in "My last Duchess" will probably get away ...

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