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GCSE: Robert Browning
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In the first poem it's the woman who has control in the second it's the man. In Porphyria's lover by Robert Browning, the narrator who is also the lover in the poem, describes a story in which an upper class woman treats him as if she owns him like a possession rather than as a lover. She walks into his house and rearranges the way he is sitting to show she has power and is in control. Porphyria , the woman, calls his name but he is angry and hurt that he was the least important thing on her list of things to do so he does not reply "And last, she sat down by my side and called me.
- Word count: 816
Browning's poems often deal with the complexities of human passion. Discuss "Two In The Campagna" and any other poem in which you consider he does this particularly effectively. Make references to other poems.
The poem becomes increasingly vibrant and passionate as the couple evidently become s******y aroused together. In my opinion, the imagery of the beetles inside a flower is incredibly vivid and is one of my personal favourite images in all of Browning's love poetry: "...Where one small orange cup amassed Five beetles,--blind and green they grope Among the honey-meal..." The images are abundantly fertile, with an intense evocation of invigorating beauty and fertility. The sixth stanza describes how nature reproduces in these fields, and features s****l images such as "primal naked forms of flowers".
- Word count: 1490
It was in that moment he realised she worshipped him; he wanted to savour the moment. He wanted to savour the moment. The lines 'I found A thing to do and all her hair In one long yellow string I wound Three times her little throat around, And strangled her.' Describe how naturally it came to this man to kill a woman he loved by strangling her with her own blonde hair. The calmness and natural behaviour of the murderer add to the horror of such a scene and reflects upon this man's insanity.
- Word count: 1982
"Browning is a good storyteller but is he better as a poet?" Discuss merits of Browning's poetry and narratives in Porphyria's Lover and My Last Duchess
In Porphyria's Lover, just before the narrator becomes active, there is a lot of repetition about Porphyria's hair : "and all her yellow hair displaced", "and spread, o'er all, her yellow hair". The narrator becomes active at the same time that Porphyria becomes passive, goes into the background while the narrator takes the scene and turns it to his own advantage. The narrator is deeply critical of Porphyria, we can see that he considers her to be a weak specimen when he puts "she too weak, for all her heart's endeavor to set its struggling passion free from pride, and vainer ties dissever."
- Word count: 1496
Compare 'my last Duchess' With 'Porphyria's Lover', taking into consideration subject and theme, setting and atmosphere and the choice and arrangements of the words.
He settled down with her in Florence, but then moved to London when she died in 1861. It was then that he wrote some of his finest poetry. Both 'Porphyrias Lover' and 'My Last Duchess' are written in single stanza form but have a different rhyme scheme, 'My Last Duchess' is written in heroic couplets making it sound more rhythmic and methodical whereas 'Porphyrias lover' is written in the rhyme scheme: A-B-A-B-B-A with eight syllables per line and 'My Last Duchess' has 10 syllables per line. Both poems are written as a monologue and from the first person point of view this makes the poems more personal.
- Word count: 669
Similar s****l behaviors surface in the works of other poets of the period, including Patmore, Tennyson, and Meredith.( n2) Furthermore, as Michael Mason has suggested, aspects of the poem's narrative resemble an 1818 account in Blackwood's of a real life murder. In Blackwood's account, the murderer spoke about the "snow white b*****s," "golden" hair, and dead "blue eyes" of his beloved. Remarking that his victim never cried out, even as he stabbed her repeatedly, Blackwood's murderer chillingly declared that once she was dead, his "joy, his happiness, was perfect" (qtd. In Mason 255-56). Mason also notes that Browning's friend Bryan Procter published a poem in 1820, "Marcian Colonna," which acknowledges the Blackwood's source.
- Word count: 2110
Discuss Robert Browning's Studies of Male Jealousy in the Dramatic Monologues 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'My Last Duchess'
Maybe Browning has purposely done this structure. A reason for this is that the man wants to be in charge of the woman, hence the inflexibility. The poem begins with: The rain set in early in to-night, The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm-tops down for spite, And did its worst to vex the lake: ......... The poem starts with a description of the weather, which is a pathetic fallacy for the feelings of the narrator. The opening four lines set the scene in a very secluded and isolated setting.
- Word count: 2124
Compare the effectiveness of the poet's use of the dramatic monologue in 'My Last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's Lover'.
It also states 'the sullen wind was soon awake' to give a feel of mystery. These features also seem to represent the character's feelings towards his love as he is moody, stubborn and unenthusiastic when she comes in as well as deep in thought. He is 'sullen' as when she 'called' him 'no voice replied'. The other poem shows character even in the title 'My Last Duchess' with its possessive pronoun 'my'. From the repeated use of possessive pronouns 'my' and 'mine' the reader soon realizes how controlling the Duke is 'That's my last duchess painted on the wall'.
- Word count: 948
In 'Porphyria's Lover', the speaker is Porphyria's lover, he is talking to himself, and in 'My Last Duchess' the Duke is the speaker and he is talking to a servant. The Duke is a very proud man, being a Duke he is higher than working class, and his family goes back for generations 'My gift of nine-hundred-years old name' he thinks that the duchess should have been very proud to be marrying in to his family. Porphyria's Lover is a very possessive, love poems often express the wish that time would stand still, Porphyria's lover is no exception to this, 'one wish would be heard, and thus we sit together now' he wants the moment of love to last forever.
- Word count: 914
Both poem were published at a similar time but are set in very different periods and cultures. This shows Browning's intelligence but also strengthens the idea that these themes of love, hate and jealousy are timeless. Browning's different choice of periods may give us an indication of how different the changes were in Victorian Britain and how even the well educated such as Browning found it tough to cope and were hesitant of the changes and developments around them or that they didn't find the changes in their society entirely pleasing. 'The Laboratory' and 'My Last Duchess' both feature people who are killing to suit their own needs.
- Word count: 4331
I think this is why Browning chose to write about this subject; because the poems gave the readers to feel the feeling they had repressed. In both of the poems there are shows of madness and violence. The poem "My Last Duchess" was based on a factual couple who lived in the town of Ferrara in Italy in the 15th century. It is the Duke and Duchess of Ferrara, at the time, who are described in the poem. The Duchess is very friendly with everyone, whether they are equal or below her status, the Duke eventually gets too jealous and suspicious of the Duchess, and has her murdered.
- Word count: 1997
"That's my last Duchess on the wall, looking as if she were alive." This makes us feel for the Duke for the loss of his wife. But as you read on you begin to see the true side of the Duke. "Fra Pandolfs hands worked busily a day." This makes you feel that he sees her as just another piece of artwork, a prize, a trophy, not as a lover or a companion. The man in 'Porphyria's lover' sees her as in control, "She put my arm about her waist." He feels that she is just using him and that this affair can not go on.
- Word count: 971
The structures of the two poems are different. Although similarly they both use poetic devices to make the poem stand out. 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'Not To Blame' use carefully chosen phrases making a strong impact on the reader. In 'Porphyria's Lover' rhyme is used throughout most of the poem. It also uses half rhyme, caesura and run on lines. The poems are also written in free verse. Caesura is shown in 'Porphyria's Lover' when the poem breaks in the middle of the line, 'In one long yellow string I wound Three times her little throat around, And strangled her.
- Word count: 1623
"My Last Duchess" is evidence that times were changing socially towards women. Women were becoming independent and free to make their own choices and become their own woman. In "My Last Duchess" the speaker was the 'Duke of Ferrara' and he was speaking to the Envoy (messenger) who is the silent listener, also "The Laboratory" has a silent listener 'The Chemist (Apothecary)' and the speaker is a mystery women. Both monologues have something in common, the speaker never interrupts. "My Last Duchess" is not about the Duchess but the Duke who is telling you of his late wife (Duchess).
- Word count: 559
Compare the Ways that Poets Write About Violence in at least four of the Poems you have studied. Remember to Compare the Violence in Poems and how the Poets Present the Young People by the Way they write about them.
The fact that the statements are so irrelevant adds effect to the nonchalant mood of the speaker. The idea of someone being so unfazed by such a horrific action of theirs is bordering on amusing as he takes a smug pride in his actions and there is a definite concentration on the actual act of crime as opposed to the motive or emotions behind it. This dark humour and needless violence is not uncommon in poetry but the deadpan delivery and closeness to everyday life is unusual and conveys a distinctly threatening message.
- Word count: 1495
Sarah Anna loved music and gardening. The historian Thomas Carlyle called her "the true type of a Scottish gentlewoman". Browning received scant formal education. However, his father encouraged him to read and he had access to his large (6,000 vols) library. The book collection filled most of the third storey at the family's house at New Cross. In his teens, Browning discovered Shelley, adopting the author's confessionalism in poetry. His first poems Browning wrote under the influence of Shelley, who also inspired him to adopt atheist principles for a time. At the age of 16, he began to study at newly established London University, returning home after a brief period.
- Word count: 1933
Browning takes for granted the existence and supremacy of God as the creator and the sole governor of the universe, and was not, in the least, in a position to doubt His existence. He considered God as an all pervading Deity, an essence always partially, never wholly revealed in the creative energy of nature and the aspirations of man. All nature is viewed as a thought of God . "God is the perfect poet", he says "who in His person acts his own creations."
- Word count: 1431
Compare four poems where strong dislike for another person is shown. Write about "The Laboratory" by Robert Browning, a poem by Simon Armitage, another by Carol Ann Duffy and one other pre 1914 poem.
Another thing that is similar between the two poems is that the people reciting the poem feel that they are not being paid enough attention to. In "My Last Duchess" the man feels that he is being made a fool, out of and even though he is giving his wife a lot of precious things he is still getting some thanks but it is just the same amount of thanks that his wife is giving everybody else. He does not wish to put up with this and decides that the only way to go about things is to kill his wife.
- Word count: 1622
Choose two or three of the dramatic monologues by Browning and consider the ways in which jealousy is presented.
I would argue that Neptune is representative of the Duke, 'taming' though I would suggest imprisoning, brutally dominating a beauty of nature, which is representative of the Duchess, whom the Duke violently 'tamed' also. This idea is not so apparent in 'The Laboratory' because the narrator is female. We do, however, see her plotting the murder of her adulterous husband, so in a way is trying to 'tame' him too. Cruel, male domination is therefore replaced by a vindictive female, plotting murder.
- Word count: 1427
'And kneeled and made the cheerless grate Blaze up and all the cottage warm' Porphyria's actions at this point in the poem seem effortless in direct contrast to the impotence of her lover. Porphyria continues to take charge at this point in the poem by removing the evidence of the wet, cold weather outside, and even when her lover is unresponsive she manipulates the situation, moving his arm around her and placing his head upon her shoulder. We see at this point that her lover is the weaker of the two, but this is soon altered as in the lines:
- Word count: 1209
Poets do not always speak directly as themselves but use a persona, a speaker other than the poet. Explore the methods which poets use to convey their thoughts and feelings.
Robert Browning uses another persona in his poem in order to convey the character of the Duke. Manufactured emotion is used, 'Sir, 'twas all one!' This adds to the contemptuous tone of the poem that has been built up from the start. The Duke has been made out to be jealous, pompous and insecure amongst other things, an example of this being, '...for never read/Strangers like you that pictured countenance.' This makes the Duke seem deeply paranoid as he may have suspected an affair had been taking place between her and Fra Pandolf.
- Word count: 691
Compare & Contrast 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'My Last Duchess'. Which Poem do you Find More Effective and Why?
The other poem, 'My Last Duchess', again points out the unfairness of how high class men ruled everything and treated women as disposable possessions. The first poem I am going to analyse is 'Porphyria's Lover'. This is a story of a woman of a high class who is meeting with a man of a much lower class. The whole meeting is told from the man's point of view making the poem a dramatic monologue. The poem starts by describing the mood of the weather outside. It is described as 'sullen' and that it is trying to 'vex' the world outside.
- Word count: 2882
It is in the form of a monologue, and once more the silent listener is important, too. He is an expert in poisons who sells his services to a wealthy woman. We do not know for certain that the speaker is female, but this is suggested by the things, listed in the fifth stanza, in which she will carry her poison ("...an earring, a casket/A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket..."), and by her offering a kiss to the poisoner, when he has finished his work. The poem recalls the saying that "h**l has no fury like a woman scorned".
- Word count: 1007
Compare and contrast "Porphyria's lover and "My last Duchess", refer in detail to themes and characters.
"E'en then would be stooping: and I choose never to stoop." In contrast the death of Porphyria was not premeditated but as a result of emotion, passion and love. Porphyria's lover looked into Porphyria eyes and saw that she worshipped him and that she was going to leave him, he debated what to do because he could not bare her leaving him. In the heat of the situation and with such high emotions running he ends up killing her in order to preserve her purity.
- Word count: 661
In My Last Duchess, the Duke is very obsessive and wants the Duchess to be his and only his. He would be described as a control freak if he would make his feelings clear to her. He wants her to do exactly how he wishes in his mind. He is the sort of person who can't understand when they are kind or if they are happy 100% of the time. The Duke is controlling all the time and wishes to keep people as an object, a teddy bear for instance with a young child.
- Word count: 2045