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A comparison of my last duchess and porphyrias lover two works by robert browning

He was born in 1812 and died in Venice in 1889. These are the poems we are going to be studying. If you were born into the working class that is where you would stay all your life, you would only associate with people from your class and you would work for people of the higher classes. If you were born into the higher classes you would not contemplate even talking to someone of a lower class than yourself. Women were told who to marry in this time period, usually for money rather than love.

This is all very ironic as the monarch at the time was a woman. The relationship in it is between a man of a low class and a woman of a higher class which creates massive problems in the relationship and ultimately causes the relationship to break down. This is a story of a woman of a high class who is meeting with a man of a much lower class.

The poem starts by describing the mood of the weather outside. This personification is used effectively to reinforce how wild the weather is that night; it also sets a mood of storminess which can refer to the atmosphere inside the cottage.

The description of the weather also goes towards making the cottage seem totally isolated. The word glide implies that she is full of grace which is in total contrast to the storm going on outside.

He then talks of how she kneels at the fire grate and makes the whole cottage warm. This could mean that she simply lights a fire or it may be that metaphorically just her presence lights up and adds warmth to the whole cottage.

When she has finished she sits next to the man but it is she that calls to him, it is almost as if the man is nervous and uneasy in her presence. Next he lists all the things that she does but the manner in which this is done makes the man seem detached as if his mind is troubled greatly by something.

Whatever it is that is troubling the man does not seem to bother the woman because she murmurs to the man that she loves him. The word murmur, with its gentleness suggests that the a comparison of my last duchess and porphyrias lover two works by robert browning really does love the man.

  • I believe he thinks of himself as Neptune; powerful and ruling, and he compares this young woman to a sea-horse, in the way that she could be so easily tamed;
  • Hence, his jealousy is well rooted in his insecurity and complexity of mind.

Here he is saying that although he loves her too he thinks that their relationship could never last but in that moment he also looks into her eyes and realises that she loves him. In this perfect moment he must realise that it cannot stay this way forever — although he wants it to — so he does what he thinks will mean the moment will last forever and strangles her.

Compare and contrast Porphyrias lover and My last Duchess

When he does open the eyes of Porphyria he says that they look happy but we are not sure whether he is telling the truth or is trying to convince himself that she felt no pain. After he has looked into her eyes he then kisses her on the cheek which makes it seem that only now, when she is dead, he has the confidence to make physical contact as before it was Porphyria who had to initiate any contact between them.

He then goes on to talk of how that now he has killed her she is released from the worry that she was suffering because of their relationship, this could again be interpreted as him trying to convince himself that he did the right thing and it was for the best.

He sits with her all night in the same position as if he never wants to let the moment go. The man in this poem is quite insane which is quite obvious with the murder he commits, although it was not pre-meditated or planned at all. In this poem we have an extremely wealthy Duke who is talking to an unknown person; as the poem progresses we find that he is a man that values loyalty and must have control over people.

The Duke talks about how the artist, Fra Pandolf, captured a look of depth and passion on her face that strangers would never have seen and the Duke grew to hate this. This a comparison of my last duchess and porphyrias lover two works by robert browning that he hates not being treated differently to everyone else as she would share the same look that she uses with him on someone he would consider to be below him.

This could be one of the reasons that he keeps the curtains that cover the painting drawn normally; another reason could be that he must have total control of this person even after she is dead.

Another reason could be that people who have seen the picture ask why she had the look and he had to tell them that it was not him that made her look so joyful but just some common artist and this he would view a weakness, so he grew to resent the Duchess.

He was also bitter that she would thank people of lower classes that did her little favours and as someone of the upper class you were never meant to even acknowledge the lower classes let alone thank them for things they were expected to do anyway.

After he has told this man that he has had the Duchess killed we then find out who this person is, we discover that he is a relative of a woman who is about to marry this Duke.

These two things show that Browning is quite an ordered person but not obsessively so. These two poems would have been frowned upon in the times they were written as they can be interpreted as derogatory to the class system at the time. One of them points out how the classes could not mix and the other one shows how the upper class has total control of those below them and can quite literally get away with murder.

I think this because the rhyming scheme is more effective and the ending is more definite.