My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover. Essay

My Last Duchess and Porphyria’s Lover. Robert Browning is pre-20th century poet who has written various pieces. We are looking at My Last Duchess and Porphyria’s Lover. Both pieces are very similar in more ways than one. The Lover in the poem Porphyria’s Lover is a lonely, depressed man who does not like Porphyria being with her family. In the end, this leads him to killing her. In My Last Duchess the Duke is a very selfish and wealthy man, he does not like the duchess smiling and being happy with anyone else. Again, this leads to her death. Both men are power-crazy and the women are completely innocent.

As far as we know, the women have done nothing wrong except do what they think right. In Porphyria’s Lover, the man says she spent too much time with her family. In My Last Duchess the Duke accuses her of smiling too much; he wants the duchess to only smile at him. The settings of the poems are one aspect that is remarkably different between both of Browning’s works. The poem Porphyria’s Lover is set in an isolated cottage. The setting is extremely important in creating the atmosphere for the poem. The weather plays a big part in making the mood; it reflects the man’s personality and feelings.

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The second line of the poem, “The sullen wind was soon awake” describes the man’s anger. The use of personification emphasises his frustration. Browning uses the rain and the use of night to create a dull a gloomy mood, once more this indicates the man is a tedious and lonely person. The first line, “The rain set early in tonight” lets us know that it has been raining since early evening and now its night. The man’ home is a secluded cottage near a lake. This could mean that the man likes to be alone. The setting of My Last duchess is very different; it is set inside a large mansion.

I feel that this is very important as it proves the man is of extremely high status. The use of objects and furniture is also vital, in the last few lines; (54-56) the Duke describes bronze sculpture. The sculpture is of Neptune, “Taming a sea-horse”. I feel that this is important as it reflects the Duke taming his wife, through killing her. The obvious difference is the wealth of the men, which is shown in the setting of the two poems. The man in Porphyria’s Lover lives in a small cottage, which is situated in an isolated location. In My Last Duchess, the Duke lives in a sophisticated mansion with expensive pictures and other objects.


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