How do Robert Browing in Porphyria's Lover and Carol Ann Duffy in Human Interest present the emotions of love and jealousy?

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 How do Robert Browing in Porphyria’s Lover and Carol Ann Duffy in Human Interest present the emotions of love and jealousy?

The first poem Porphyria’s Lover begins with a very romantic tone, with a beautiful maiden meeting with a brooding young man. She then proceeds to light the fire, loosens her hair and reveals her shoulder, attempting to seduce him. Confused, he “debates” as to what he should do next and opts to strangle her with her hair.  The second poem, Human Interest, concerns a prisoner sentenced to fifteen years for the murder of his unfaithful girlfriend.

There are many similarities between the two poems. Firstly, both have a male persona detailing their romantic lives in a dramatic monologue. The effect of the first person narrative is to allow the reader a personal insight as to their state of mind during the murder, and how they feel reflecting upon their actions. The underlying suspicion and resentment felt towards their partners is also included, which are likely to be due to differences in class and the way they are viewed in society. Another key similarity between the poems is the ironic twist: in Porphyria’s Lover, the macabre appears when he calmly murders the woman he loves, convinced that his actions are righteous and even to the extent that it is for her benefit. In Human Interest the irony becomes apparent when, after describing and justifying his crime, he insists that he “wouldn’t hurt a fly, honest”.  This results in both poems being extremely thought provoking and slightly disturbing, lingering in the mind long after they have been read. A vivid and strking depiction of the two murderers and their feelings, in many ways they are more to do with the events surrounding the event, and the murderers’ states of minds, rather than the act itself.

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Despite their many similarities, there are also many significant differences, which is almost certainly due to the differences between the poets themselves. Browning, one of the most revered poets from the Victorian age, is renowned for his dramatic monologues which explore the state of mind of historical or fictional characters. Porphyria’s Lover is similar to My Last Dutchess, another dramatic monologue in which the duke describes the portrait of his deceased wife to the man who is negotiating the Duke’s second marriage. There are hints throughout that the Duke may have been responsible for his wife’s death. Carolyn Duffy has ...

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