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GCSE: Robert Browning
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My coursework study has introduced me to the works of Robert Browning including "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess".
In the poem Browning gives us an insight of how women in Victorian times struggled with the strong moral values of the time. The strangulation of Porphyria was a crime of passion, as her lover wants to keep her his forever. The poem ends on a chilling note asking us the question "who will save the helpless?" as God did not help Porphyria. The scene of the poem opens on a dark stormy night. The weather is personified: "The sullen wind was soon awake, it tore the elm-tops down for spite and did its worst to vex the lake" I
- Word count: 1125
Both My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover are dramatic monologues written by Robert Browning. Write a comparison between them showing how typical they are of the dramatic monologue form.
"Porphyria's Lover" however has an ABABB rhyme scheme. This makes it more fluent and in tune with passion, while the cadence of the poem still mimics natural speech. Although the poem does not display colloquialisms, it is much less formal than "My Last Duchess" It is more fluent and in tune with passion. It does not feel as controlled. The intensity of the poem and the asymmetrical pattern of the verse suggest the lover's madness even though he presents himself in a fairly reasoned way. As the two poems are crafted so differently it is easy to concentrate on this and assume there are no similarities.
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Now, the first noticeable difference between the murderers is the way they are both describing the murders. In 'Porphyria's Lover' the murderer describes the scene and the time leading up to the murder with what would seem to be more depth. The murderer in 'Porphyria's Lover' describes how he is feeling "Happy and proud, at last I knew" and he also describes the way Porphyria looks to him, which is beautiful, both before and after her death, whereas the murderer in 'Human Interest' describes his anger "I'd slogged my guts out for her, but she lied" and he says he
- Word count: 959
are ties to the upper class in My Last Duchess it is more spoken of than in Porphyria's Lover, which only has a few lines linking to the upper class. From Porphyria's Lover these four lines link Porphyria to the upper class. "From pride, and vainer ties dissever, And give herself to me forever. But passion sometimes would prevail Nor could to-nights gay feast restrain." This shows that Porphyria has come from a feast to meet the lover, and I think that the feast shows that perhaps she was at an upper class party and had left that to see her lover.
- Word count: 945
In the poem, the two lovers are criticised for the procrastination and weakness, which prevented them from eloping. As a consequence, Browning has been accused of implying that, under certain circumstances, adultery is laudable. However, having foreseen such criticism, Browning says "I hear you reproach, 'But delay was best, for their end was a crime'". The reference to adultery as a crime is in itself significant as evidence that Browning does not condone it. Browning proceeds by saying that, had they repented of their sinful passion and been prevented from eloping by moral reasons, he would have commended them.
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Compare the two poem "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning. In what ways do they form part of the literacy tradition?
He then, as she is late, decides to put her feelings for him to the test. She calls him "when no voice replied she put my arm about her waist". Her affection is cruelly rebuffed, despite all her love he feels, she has not passed the "test", because she will not free herself from "vainer ties". These ties are the implications of her current lifestyle, as she is from a higher social class than him and he wished her to sacrifice everything for him "and give herself to me forever."
- Word count: 1459
What are the two poems about? What do you notice about the poets use of language? In what ways the poems similar to and different from each other? 'Porphyria's' Lover'and 'My Last Duchess'.
As well as being very comparable, these stories are very different. 'Porphyria's Lover' is the poem we are certain involves a murder whilst 'My Last Duchess' is just hinted upon. In 'Porphyria's Lover', the murder is an act of love. Porphyria's lover gently winds his lovers hair round her neck three times and strangles her. "No pain felt she" as Browning put it, emphasising the fact that this poem is a love poem and not a horrific chilling poem.
- Word count: 440
Compare my last duchess and Porhyria's lover considering in particular how the 2 central characters are presented.
This also shows the Duke being selfish and powerful. The Duke's selfishness can also be seen later in the poem. This can be seen in "A heart, how shall I say? - too soon made glad, /Too easily impressed" and "She looked on and her looks went everywhere." It would appear that the Duke was not impressed by the supposed flirtatious actions of the Duchess. This is because he wanted the Duchess to be completely his. Therefore we can see that the Duke is also a jealous man. Another characteristic of the Duke's character is his arrogance.
- Word count: 1471
Compare Browning's portrayal of the men and their relationships in 'My Last Duchess'and 'Porphyria's Lover'
However, in 'My Last Duchess' the rhyme scheme is AABB, so the lines are rhyming couplets. The duke has stamped his control on his wife and there is a sense of togetherness. The rhythm in 'Porphyria's Lover' is iambic tetrameter whereas in 'My Last Duchess' it is iambic pentameter. This makes the poem like polished and controlled conversational speech, to emphasise how many times the duke has made the speech. It also enhances the irony of 'Even had you skill/ In speech- (which I have not)'.
- Word count: 1856
Comparison between two poems - We have been reading two different poems 'Porphyria's Lover' by Robert Browning and 'The Sisters' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
If a person is strangled their eyes would be blood spotted, so his statement cannot be right. He makes it as if nothing had happened by putting her head on his shoulder. He also says then "the smiling rosy little head". He does not accept that she is dead. This also changes the dominant partner. In the beginning she is the one who puts his head on her shoulder like a puppet but now it is his role to do this. He is a selfish man who wants to keep her to himself, another way that we can see her is selfish is at the very beginning.
- Word count: 1865
Compare and contrast the presentation of the diseased mind in 'Porphyria's Lover' by Robert Browning and 'Too Bad' written by Carol Ann Duffy
In 'Porphyria's Lover' we could suggest that it's a crime of passion. Whereas, 'Too Bad' conveys that the assassin has planned and knows about the killing. This is murder! In 'Too Bad' we can depict that by using the image, "rain" suggests a dark, cold, depressing mood. Browning elaborates the build up of anger in the line, "the sullen wind was soon awake" within the personification the line intensifies his sulky, sad mood. However the words, "wind was soon awake" develops a notion of fury in his mind as he waits for her.
- Word count: 3477
Unlike "Porphyria's Lover", "My Last Duchess" uses a regular rhyme scheme using rhyming couplets. It is also written in the first person and is also a dramatic monologue. The poem is one stanza long, the same as "Porphyria's Lover", and each line in the stanza contains ten syllables; similar to in "Porphyria's Lover" this helps to give the narrator a very strong sense of power and control over the poem and his last duchess. "Porphyria's Lover" is written in the first person, and in fact the narrator is actually "Porphyria's Lover". This poem is all about the narrator's control over his lover; some of the imagery for this sense of control is outlined above.
- Word count: 1206
Compare and Contrast Tennyson's 'Mariana' with Browning's 'Porphyria's Lover'. What is the emotional state of each speaker and how effectively is this conveyed?
Verse two shows Mariana crying. Her misery and gloominess are overwhelmingly apparent. Also her isolation from people is evident as she is shown to be in-tune with nature as her tears correspond to the drops of dew in the fields around her. Other features of her background are also appropriate. 'She glanced athwart the glooming flats' suggest that she too is gloomy as well as the Lincolnshire landscape. Her life has no future, as her personal outlook seems gloomily flat.
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When he sees that Porphyria worships him he kills her to save her, from her own weakness. Emotive and inferential The emotive and inferential language in the poem helps to manufacture an atmosphere. The use of this also gives the characters more life so that they appear aggrandized real. The layout of the poem is all in one stanza so we know that it is only one person's stream of consciousness. Each new line begins with a capital letter and this tells us that it is consistent and only one person speaking. The S sound in the poem, 'The sullen wind was soon awake', 'the rain set early in tonight' gives the poem a sinister feeling.
- Word count: 718
'How effective an evocation of menace are the dramatic monologues 'My Last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's Lover? ' - Pre twentieth century poetry.
(Lines 2-4). The pride of the Duke furthers at the beginning of the poem when he talks of the 'depth and passion of that earnest glance', attempting to convey just how good the painting is, and in turn conveys to the audience his pride. This pride ties in which another character trait of the Duke prevalent in the poem, possessiveness. The fact that the Duke keeps the portrait behind close curtains and deems it a privilege to view illustrates the possessiveness and greed of the Duke: '...But to myself they turned, since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I'.
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Compare and contrast Browning's portrayal of the protagonists in 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'My Last Duchess'.
The Duke saw the Duchess's flirtatious behaviour towards other men as unacceptable behaviour for his wife. However what the Duke viewed as inappropriate flirting was in fact no more than unadvised courtesy towards whoever showed compassion and sociability towards her. The Duchess undoubtedly did not seem to recognize the expectations the Duke had of her, as thought correct and fitting for the wife of such a high ranked man at that time. The Duchess simply acted naively, not understanding the importance of the etiquette she was supposed to follow as the wife of duke. Porphyria also seems to be fairly young and beautiful.
- Word count: 790
Compare and contrast the presentation of the diseased mind in 'Porphyria's Lover' by Robert Browning and 'Too Bad' written by Carol Ann Duffy
It also associates to the cold, calculating, and depressive personality of the assassin. Browning uses the language, "vex" this portrays a strong image of anger. Duffy conveys, "with our heads down" depicts that they don't want to be seen as on a mission to kill. We could suppose that the assassin has a diseased mind, as he knows he's going to commit this murder, "we had a job to do". This shows that the assassin is doing it for the money.
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Eventually she found herself at the oversized, wooden cottage door, fumbling for her keys. He lay in bed - wide-awake, his heart shuddering as the torrid wind and relentless rain engulfed the world outside him. The cottage was cold, and he didn't want to move from his warm, huddled position under the blanket of his bed. His ears were pricked as he listened to the gales, when suddenly he heard the painfully memorable sound of Porphyria's key turning in the door.
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I tried to be as normal so as not to alarm her, but it was very difficult, I was more silent than normal and thought she was latching onto my suspicions. She tried to move closer to me and hold me and so I let her as it gave me an opportunity to do the one thing, which I had left to do. The setting was absolutely right for what I was going to do. The wind was rustling about like crazy outside and the windows were clashing together.
- Word count: 685
With detailed reference to three poems, compare and contrast how effectively the poets have presented different relationships between and women.
The last line in the verses adds quite an abrupt finish to each verse. This odd ending of the five-line verse is rather strange and you can hear it quite distinctively when somebody else is reading the poem. This may symbolize the unstableness of Porphyria's lover. It could also mean the sudden end to Porphyria's life. This is the technique that Browning used to write his poems. The language is very calm and rather 'alarming'. This is maybe to show how unstable and insane this man actually is.
- Word count: 1741
Write about and compare the jealous Duke in Browning's 'My Last Duchess' and the female killer in 'The Laboratory'. Then compare 'Education for Leisure' by Carol Ann Duffy with Armitage's 'Hitcher'
You could not distinguish if she was pleased with one thing more than another. He expects her to be more grateful with his gift rather than nature's gifts. He has a strong dislike for the men who flirted with her, he refers to one of them as an 'officious fool' He is particularly annoyed that she was equally impressed with his status as with any other gift. "Somehow - I know not how - as if she ranked my gift of a nine-hundred-year-old name with anybody's gift."
- Word count: 1155
How does Browning use the human voice to create character? Look at at his choice of lanuage partically, in the thress poems you have studied. Say which you preffered and why?
Like most of Browning's other dramatic monologues, this one captures a moment after a main event or action. Porphyria already lies dead when the speaker begins. Just as the nameless speaker seeks to stoop time by killing her, so, too, does this kind of poem, like the other two of Browning's centre's on s*x and violence. The lover turns out to be very possessive and the poem gets intense as we realise his obessiveness. The words with which the narrator describes the weather reflects his own feelings, ''The rain set early in to-night, the sullen wind was soon awake'', implying that he had woken up in an angry, depressed mood, which is an exampleof transferred epithex.
- Word count: 1223
-too soon made glad', seemingly making his speech much more spontaneous. However this apparent lack of control throughout is contrasted strongly through how Browning tells the Duke himself could not control the Duchess as well as he would have liked. It is strongly implied in the text that the Duchess is dead and that he was somehow responsible it. The reasoning behind his will for her demise seems to be because of her interaction with other men: 'Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.'
- Word count: 1386
How does Browning show the balance of power between men and women in 'My Last Duchess' and 'Porphryria's Lover'?
anybody wants to see it they would have to ask him first, 'Since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I' This shows that he still has control over her even though she has passed on. After that he writes about how every little detail seemed to please her, 'She had A heart... how shall I say... too soon made glad, Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.' The Duke gets quite angry at this point, 'The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her,'
- Word count: 814
Whereas at the start of the poem, you feel like the shades are cold - blues and greys. The poet uses words such as "sullen", "spite", and "vex" to indicate human emotions. As soon as Porphyria enters, the warmth livens the room - the shades are bright - oranges and yellows to lift the senses. Before she enters the room, the lover's mood is anxious and full of fear and anticipation. Once she has arrived, his mood is ecstatic: 'I listened with heart fit to break.
- Word count: 787