A Comparison Of John Donne's "The Flea" And Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess".

1068 words - 4 pages

"The Flea" who haunts "My Last Duchess"History has blessed the English language with many great romanticists; they were men and sometimes woman who had an affinity for describing the glories of love. Yet in the midst of such uninhibited amorousness, they were a select few who chose to write about the seamier side of romance. It was these works which perhaps best represented the complexities of the male-female relationships of the time. Although written more than two hundred years apart, both "The Flea" by John Donne and "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning, examine the selfishness and lustful ambitions which often hamper a man's ability to achieve true love.As the reader is introduced to the protagonist of John Donne's "The Flea", it becomes clear that his only romantic tendencies are fueled from below the beltline. Lines such as "It sucked me first, and now it sucks thee, and in this flea, our two bloods mingled be" (3-4) sound more like the plot to a 1950's horror movie, then a testament to true love. The narrator reasoning for writing this poem is to convince the female object of his admiration that since there blood is mixed inside of a flea, it would not be a sin to mix other more sexual fluids. It is quite possible that the protagonist of the "The Flea" was one of the inventors of the cheesy pick-up line.Much like the Narrator in "The Flea", The Duke from Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" is a man whose love is hardly pure because it is fueled mostly by greed and shallowness. As the Duke marvels over the painting of his late wife on the wall, he seems to be more impressed with the artistry of the painter, then with celebrating the memory of the woman who was once his bride. "That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf's hands worked busily a day, and there she stands" (3-4). The Duke seems almost as happy with a painting, as he was with a living breathing wife, because the painting represents all he found attractive about his wife, and nothing he did not. The Duke only speaks positively of his late wife's physical attributes, and discusses her personality in a manner which seems to suggest it contributed to her premature demise.It is doubtful that the protagonist in John Donne's "The Flea" was as well acquainted with the object of his affection as his counterpart found in "My Last Duchess". Very little is known about the relationship the narrator has with the woman he is addressing, and the tone of the protagonist's lecherous desperation seems to suggest that he has have never made love with the woman he his addressing. As the line "And pampered swells with one blood made of two" (8) it becomes apparent that the flea's body isn't the only thing which is swelling up, as the narrator ponders the possibility of bodily fluids mixing. The protagonist seems to prey upon stereotypical female romantic fantasies of perfect marital bliss as he manages to fit the subject of marriage into his hormone induced rant. "This flea is you and I, and this our...

Find Another Essay On A Comparison of John Donne's "The Flea" and Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess".

Robert Browning's My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover

1294 words - 6 pages bring will last; as the vows say, till death do us part.” One of the oddest forms of this writing is from Robert Browning’s texts My Last Duchess and Porphyria’s Lover. In My Last Duchess a man is talking to the painting of his wife, and describing how their love went cold. Porphyria’s Lover is about a couple who works in an odd way, but ends even worse. Through careful analysis of Robert Browning’s two dramatic monologues, the similarities of

Treatment of Women in Robert Browning's My Last Duchess and Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress

2947 words - 12 pages Treatment of Women in Robert Browning's My Last Duchess and Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress Sex, lies and intrigue are just a few of the themes explored in “My Last Duchess” and “To His Coy Mistress”. The control men have over women and the control women have over men are also closely observed in these 16th century poems. The two poems also give us an insight to the treatment and presentation of women in that era. The

A Comparison of 'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning and 'Ulysses' by Alfred Lord Tennyson

1078 words - 4 pages A Comparison of 'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning and 'Ulysses' by Alfred Lord Tennyson These two poems, or monologues, were written by Robert Browning (My last Duchess) and Alfred Lord Tennyson (Ulysses), in the 19th century during the reign of Queen Victoria. Many other influential writers were also born in this period. During this time, Britain’s population doubled from 17.5 million to 37 million. Britain was a very

A Comparison of Porphyria’s Lover and My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

1973 words - 8 pages A Comparison of Porphyria’s Lover and My Last Duchess by Robert Browning The two poems ‘Porphyria’s lover’ and ‘my last duchess’ by Robert Browning shows a dramatic monologue. Dramatic monologue is a story that is told by one person; which means you only get one point of view; in the two poems they are based on the narrator’s crisis, his feelings and his way of thinking; and you have to believe it because that is the

Comparison Between John Donne's "The Flea" and "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning"

1309 words - 5 pages The poem 'The Flea' by John Donne is an example of a monologue. However, instead of being a dramatic monologue, it is known as a dramatic lyric. Through the ideas of the speaker being a man, who is addressing the poem to a woman, and the use of the flea, which causes the speaker's words to change as the poem progresses, it can be seen that 'The Flea' is a dramatic lyric poem, where the speaker is a man who is attempting to convince a woman to

Browning's Presentation of the idea of Love in The Laboratory and My Last Duchess

5024 words - 20 pages Browning's Presentation of the idea of Love in The Laboratory and My Last Duchess Robert Browning was born into a wealthy family in 1812 in the suburbs of London. His education was a mixture of private instruction and informal schooling. Browning's father had a library of thousands of books, this helped Browning develop an immense literary knowledge. As a boy he was intelligent and he cultivated a taste for books and

Porphyrias Lover, My Last Duchess and The Flea all have the theme of

741 words - 3 pages Porphyrias Lover, My Last Duchess and The Flea all have the theme of love in them Porphyrias Lover, My Last Duchess and The Flea all have the theme of love in them. But they are not all the same theme of love for example Porphyrias Lover is obsessive and seductive love whereas; The Flea is more like sexual love. Robert Browning writes both Porphyrias Lover and My Last Duchess and John Donne writes The Flea. I think Porphyrias Lover and

Race, Gender and Wealth in Robert Browning's, My Last Duchess & Porphyria's Lover.

1122 words - 4 pages The romantic period has been named as one of the most influential literature periods of all time, while also spawning some famous poets such as Robert Browning, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Robert Browning (7 May 1812 - 12 December 1889) was an English poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets. Browning's, Porphyria's Lover and My Last

A Comparison of My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover

760 words - 3 pages A Comparison of My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover Robert Browning was born on May 7, 1812 in Camberwell. The majority of his education came from his father who worked as a bank clerk. In 1828 he enrolled at the university of London, but soon left as he found he was happier learning at his own pace. Robert tried to become a playwright as well as a poet but he was unsuccessful. In 1846 Robert Browning married

A Comparison of My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover

1063 words - 4 pages acts as a contrast to the content of the poem. In "My Last Duchess", Browning uses a soft tone and describes the Duke having the Duchess killed subtly, " This grew; I gave commands;/ Then all smiles stopped together." Browning describes this without changing the tone. However in "Porphyria's Lover" the tone is normal and soft throughout the poem until the point in which the Lover murders Porphyria, "In one long yellow string I wound

Analysis of John Donne's Poem, The Flea

1433 words - 6 pages . Eliot, T S. "Dissocation of Sensibility." Essays in Criticism 2 (1952): 213-214. Oxford Journals. Evans, Robert C. "Literary Contexts in Poetry: John Donne's "the Flea"" Great Neck Publishing (2006): 1. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Northeast Lakeview, San Antonio. 17 Apr. 2008. Keyword: John Donne The Flea. Raynie, Stephen A. "The Womans Body and the Obstacle of Specious Honor in Donne's 'the Flea'" University of Colorado Dept. of English 38 (2001): 40. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Northeast Lakeview, San Antonio. 11 Apr. 2008. Keyword: John Donne’s ‘The Flea’

Similar Essays

Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" Essay

1084 words - 4 pages In this essay, I would like to discuss one of Robert Browning's better known poems, "My Last Duchess." While some readers may be put off by Browning's language which now seems archaic, his poem is every bit as relevant today as when he wrote it almost two hundred years ago. It is as relevant in the twenty first century as it was in the sixteenth century which serves as the setting for the poet's history lesson. The poem focuses on a sixteenth

Robert Browning's Poem, "My Last Duchess"

1527 words - 6 pages Analysis of Robert Browning's My Last DuchessRobert Browning's poem, My Last Duchess is a poem that represents and holds true to many of the Pre-Raphaelite ideals. It is comprised of rhyming pentameter lines. The lines do not make use of end-stops but rather they use enjambment (which is that sentences do not necessarily conclude at the end of the lines). This results in the rhymes not creating a sense of closure when the end of the lines come

Robert Browning's Poem "My Last Duchess".

781 words - 3 pages Picture FrameBill Cosby once said, "It's not a lack of love, but a lack of trust that makes an unhappy marriage." Would a man kill his wife if he didn't trust her? Narrating his own tale of possessiveness, jealousy, and murder, the husband in Robert Browning's poem "My Last Duchess" unintentionally justifies his dead wife's actions.The husband in Browning's poem considered his most prized possession to be his wife. Like household objects the

Robert Browning's My Last Duchess And Porphyria's Lover

1326 words - 5 pages from My Last Duchess and Porphyria’s Lover have different attitudes about what they have done to their lovers. First, when the speaker from Porphyria’s Lover kills his wife, her thinks of it as a favor to her for which Bryan Duncan agrees by, “The closing lines here allude to Robert Browning's dramatic monologue "Porphyria's Lover," in which the speaker disdainfully claims to be innocent for his lover's murder because he wasn't punished for it by