Comparing Browning Poems

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Choose two of the Browning poems that you have studied and which have particularly interested you.

In what ways are these poems similar and what techniques has Browning used to engage the reader?

During the Victorian ere Browning wrote many dramatic monologues in which he describes the feelings of characters from a different time and in a different place to his readers. These monologues include the deepest feelings and emotions of the characters as well as telling the reader a story or what is happening to the particular character.

The poems I have chosen to look at to identify the similarities and differences are “My Last Duchess” and “Porphyria’s Lover”. I chose these two poems to compare because they are both based on love but there are twists in that both men who are speaking show signs of insanity and this results in the death of their female partners. I find these poems interesting from the very start as Browning has managed to engage the reader.

The poem “My Last Duchess” is clearly based on the Renaissance period and set in Italy which reflects that at this time the Victorians were very interested in other periods in history, the poem was originally entitled “Italy”, due to where it is set.

“Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule

She rode with round the terrace”

“Porphyria’s Lover” was published in 1836 and could be set in several eras but seems to reflect a Victorian lifestyle.

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“Withdrew the dripping coat and shawl,

And laid her soiled gloves by, untied

Her hat and let the damp hair fall,”

At the beginning of “Porphyria’s Lover” Browning immediately begins to set the scene;

“The rain set early in to-night,

The sullen wind was soon awake,”

These lines create a strong atmosphere which help you to imagine a picture of where the scene is taking place – a very cold and wet, stormy night. This setting is often used at the start of an old fashioned horror film meaning that immediately the audience suspects that ...

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