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 with what he has done and is going to marry again, “Though his fair daughters self, as I avowed”.
Like the men the women have a lot of things in common. They are both beautiful “And made her smooth white shoulder bare, and all here yellow hair displaced” and “Strangers like you that pictures countenance, the depth and passion of its earnest glance”. They also have the attention of other men “She thanked men” this quote is from "My last Duchess" and shows the man sounding jelous. They both also would have had the attention of other men due to their social statures. “Soiled gloves” these two words show the social stature of the woman in "Porphria's Lover". In the Victorian period only upper class women would have worn gloves. Also for "My last Duchess" the woman was a duchess.
There are also many differences in the poems. In "Porphria's Lover" there is a dramatic opening with the weather, which puts emotion into the poem straight from beginning. “The rain set early in tonight, The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm tops down for spite”. This weather reflects the mans dark and dismal mood. Whereas "My last Duchess" has little to no emotion and because of the punctuation sounds more like a conversation. "Porphria's Lover" is set in a cottage “and all the cottage warm”. Whereas I assume "My last Duchess" is set in the duke’s mansion that is in Italy “Ferrara”. "My last Duchess" has rhyming couplets but they are hidden due to the punctuation while in "Porphria's Lover" there is a five line rhyme system “waist”, “bare”, “displaced”, “there”, “hair”.
Out of the two poems ("Porphria's Lover" and "My last Duchess") I think I prefer "Porphria's Lover" because the emotion in it makes it a very powerful poem.
By Antony Booth