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A Compare/Contrast Analysis Of The Speaker Of My Last Duchess And The Speaker Of Porphyria’s Lover; How They Are Similar And How They Are Different

1257 words - 6 pages

Great works of poetry don’t always make sense at first. They can be over a highly random subject, such as the singing of a bird or the way a woman composes herself, yet they are still great. Some of the most infamous poetry known to today’s modern literary world come out of 19th century England, the Victorian Era. These poets were some of the first to experiment with different themes and rhythms of poetry. “The easy conversational flow of the poem is created by making the regular mid-line pauses ("caesura") the dominant stops of the poem rather than endstopping.” (Tenebris) One of these poets was Robert Browning, who failed to obtain much recognition for his poetry until much later. His ...view middle of the document...

” (Best) She attends to these other things before paying any attention to him. When she finally comes over to him, she seemingly doesn’t recognize that he is brooding. He is telling the story after he has killed her, but this fact isn’t apparent until he tells of the kill. It seems like he is simply describing how she came home that evening. “I listened with heart fit to break,/ When glided in Porphyria…” (pg. 982 lines 5-6)
The speaker of My Last Duchess seems calmer and less mentally unstable than the speaker of Porphyria’s Lover. My Last Duchess is simply a poem explaining lost love, and even though the speaker resented the fact that his former wife found delight in everything, rather than just him, he still seems to love her very much. He is simply explaining to the agent that is with him what flaws he found in her. “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.” (pg. 980 lines 22-24) The speaker of Porphyria’s Lover is on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to crazy. Even at the very beginning of the poem, something seems to be the matter with him. At first, the reader of this poem brushes it off as him being in a bad mood. It is later found out that he has finally gained his girl’s love, and he kills her for it. Perhaps he was just waiting until she loved him fully, and killed her so she couldn’t stop loving him. Either way, he’s clearly a psycho. This may have been Browning’s way of drawing attention to the mentally ill, and what affect it can have on people. “This is an important distinction to make due to the fact that with a lot of forms of criticism hold the writer’s intentions above the reader’s response to given literary materials.” (Wilkerson)
Each narrator of Browning’s poems finds a major character flaw in the one he loves. This is an odd characteristic of these poems, because as one first starts reading them, they almost seem like love poems. The speaker in My Last Duchess first relays how beautiful his wife was, and how he loved her. He then goes on to say that she was happy at everything, and it bothered him. He had hoped that she would delight in him more than in other things of the world, which she did not. He explained that she smiled at him the way she smiled at the rest of the world. The speaker of Porphyria’s Lover says that his girl never really loved him fully until the night she came home and he ended up...

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