‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess” Essay

Published: 2021-09-10 15:40:10
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A dramatic monologue is a poem that is written in the form of a speech or narrative by a person who has been imagioned, in which the speaker undeliberately reveals aspects of their character while describing a particular situation or series of events. In Porphyria’s lover the speaker is in fact the lover and in ‘My Last Duchess’ the Duke is the speaker. Both speakers tell us their version of events and because of this the listener must be wary of bias. In order to build up a true picture of the actual events and of their character, we must study language, tone and structure.
The Duke uses such language as “Wilt please you sit and look at her” this, although politely worded is in fact a command which the envoy would be foolish not to obey. Also the writer uses the words of the artist to hint to the reader what happened to the Duchess for example “the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat” this suggests that she had her throat slit as a result, perhaps it also suggests in ‘Porphyria’s lover’ the sentence “vainer ties” reflects the way that the lover ties her beautiful upper cl3ass hair round her own neck to kill her.
This also reflects the fact that the reason he was killing her was her undoing thus the use of her own hair to kill her. Also Browning uses symbolism to show the reader how the narrator feels, such as in ‘Porphyrias lover’ he says “laid her soiled gloves by” this shows us that the lover thinks that when she takes off the traces of her other life off it becomes pure and true this is how the lover would want his wife to be The duke never speaks emotionally to his wife, the language also shows the unease he has about speaking to his wife “sort of trifling” this shows that he dosen’t quite understand her.
The duke does not appreciate the natural world and also does not appreciate the fact that his Duchess does, in usual marriages the couple would make room for the other ones likes and dislikes but the Duke does not appreciate marital values. This is shown in that he does not treat her as a wife but more as a object. The tone in’My last Duchess’ is steady throughout this reflects his calmness, but in ‘Porphyrias lover’ the writer uses enjambment so that when you are reading the poem you can read it quickly and each line runs into the latter one.
The narrator also shows the lovers anger and aggrivation by using many agressive adjectives such as “vex, tore, spite, sullen” all these words show that Porphyria has obviously done something wrong. But in line 6 when Porphyria glides in the adjectives which are used are rather more soft gentle and beautiful this shows the reader that the lover is obsessed with Porphyria he uses words such as “Blaze, warm, rose, glided”. In ‘My last Duchess’the lines are structured in rhyming couplets and everyother two lines the rhyming changes.
In ‘Porphyrias lover’ and ‘My Last Duchesss” the speaker chooses to tell us some of the information but in some places it can be obvious in both poems that the narrator has chosen to omit some of the vital information. They do this because they want to present a particaular view to the person they are talking to, some examples of the narrators changing of information is when the lover says “Perfectly pure and good” he says this about the lovers and his relationship although it obviously isn’t pure and good as he has killed her and is now claiming that ther is nothing wrong with it.
In ‘My last Duchess’ the Duke omits everything to do with the dissapearence of his duchess it is up to the reader to decide whether or not he has had her killed or has been divorced from her. The quote “I call that piece a wonder now” this suggests that he likes the Duchess more as a inanimate object than as a real person As a conclusion Browning has created through his use of dramatic monologue two diferent yet similar poems and main characters, both men kill the women in their lives.
Both do this so they can have their perfect and ideal world. In both the poems the main character has a obsession with power and control but just in a slightly different way to one another. They both want to be the centre of their own lives. The lover of Porphyria wants to be accepted as a real person or a husband or as a real lover not just a sexual partner this is in fact is untainable for him. The Duke is different in that he wants his own relatuionship to be controlled with no other intrusions.
Of the two characters presented I find Porphyrias lover the more disturbing because his murder of his lover seems so cool and calculated, and also the manner of the of the killing is extremely disturbing. We know his murder is controlled because he says the clear statement “I… Strangled her” this reflects the lover’s control over his actions: he intended too to kill her and did so and In particularily disturbing fashion.
Also the lover thinks that he is completely without guilt in the final few lines of the poem, he even feels his actions have been comletely sanctioned by God. He stays with Porphyria for the rest of the night and tries to recreate a normal couples situation by staying sitting next to her. He insists that Porphyria felt no pain and he does not seek to find any excuses for his actions which he obviously does not see as criminal or wrong.

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