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Comparing Porphyrias Lover and My Last Duchess

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Comparing Porphyria's Lover and My Last Duchess Although both Porphyria's Lover and My Last Duchess were written by the same man (Robert Browning, 1812-1889), there are many similarities and differences between them. Porphyria's Lover tells the unfortunate tale of how Porphyria met her untimely death. The poem is told by her lover, who remains unnamed throughout. From what can be gathered from the text, Porphyria is married, though not necessarily happily, and has fallen in love with her "lover". Of course, their love is a secret, which is why Porphyria and her lover meet in a cottage in the middle of the woods on a dark, stormy night. It is in this cabin that they proceed to make love, and also in this cabin where her lover, who doesn't want to loose Porphyria to her husband, takes the fateful decision to kill her. He does this by strangling her with her yellow hair, an action which he does not seem to regret. After Porphyria's tragic demise, he props her head up onto his shoulder, as it was before, and appears more than satisfied that Porphyria is now all his. Little can be gathered about the personality of Porphyria's Lover. ...read more.


At the end of the poem, the Duke describes how another gentleman, Claus of Innsbruck had cast in bronze a statue of Neptune taming a sea-horse. This puts into perspective how, to the Duke, his wife has become just another part of his art collection. This is very different to Porphyria's Lover where the Lover loved Porphyria so much that he had to kill her to keep her: in My Last Duchess the Duke killed the Duchess not out of love, but out of jealousy. In fact, it can be wondered if he ever felt much love and compassion towards his last wife, seeing as her memory has been reduced to a single painting on the wall and the Duke himself speaks of his plans to marry the Count's daughter. One must wonder whether her fate will also be to become nothing but a painting on the wall. Although both Porphyria's Lover and My Last Duchess are love poems, the way the love is presented couldn't contrast more. In Porphyria's Lover, the Lover is in love with Porphyria; so much in love that he goes as far to kill her so he can be with her forever, and so that he doesn't loose her to her husband. ...read more.


There is not so much imagery in My Last Duchess, some of the few examples being "the faint half-flush that dies along her throat" and perhaps "that spot of joy into the Duchess' cheek". In Porphyria's Lover, very descriptive language is used. This language is used to elaborate the poem and to extend and enrich the detail. Some examples include "cheerless grate", "long yellow string" and "smiling rosy little head". However, in contrast, there is hardly any descriptive language or adjectives used in My Last Duchess. Likewise, My Last Duchess contains very little, if hardly any, alliteration, while Porphyria's Lover it is written "blushed bright beneath my burning kiss." Although both poems rhyme, they both have very different structures. While Porphyria's Lover has an A B A B B C D C D D E F E F F... form, My Last Duchess has an A A B B C C D D... form. As could be imagined, My Last Duchess is therefore more simple and straightforward to read, due to it's simple rhyme scheme. To conclude, although both Porphyria's Lover and My Last Duchess are love poems written by the same man, they both have many similarities and differences. Some of these similarities include: the anonymity of characters and the way both poems are written in a very distant manner. Some of these differences include: the manner in which love is presented and the structures. ...read more.

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