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Compare My Last Duchess And Porhyria's Lover Considering In Particular

1304 words - 5 pages

Compare my last duchess and Porhyria's lover considering in particular
how the 2 central characters are presented.

Both poems, "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" have
similarities and differences. This can be seen in the two central
characters, content and language. In "My Last Duchess" the duke, a
rich upper class man, is talking to a messenger of a count whose
daughter he wishes to marry. This poem begins in front of his last
Duchess painting which is on the wall in the Duke's home. Throughout
the poem, we discover the characteristics of the Duke and learn about
the murder of the Duchess. "Porphyria's Lover" however begins in the
lover's cottage. The poem describes a night they spent together and
the murder of Porphyria. Throughout this poem, we also learn about the
characteristics of the Lover. Both poems are linked through the murder
of Porphyria and the Duchess.

Firstly, in "My Last Duchess", the Duke is controlling. This can be
seen in "The curtain I have drawn for you, but I". This tells us that
the duke was in control over who saw the painting because there was a
curtain present over the painting. This can also suggest that the
Duke, still, thought that he had control over his late wife. This also
shows the Duke being selfish and powerful.

The Duke's selfishness can also be seen later in the poem. This can be
seen in "A heart, how shall I say? - too soon made glad, /Too easily
impressed" and "She looked on and her looks went everywhere." It would
appear that the Duke was not impressed by the supposed flirtatious
actions of the Duchess. This is because he wanted the Duchess to be
completely his. Therefore we can see that the Duke was also a jealous

Another characteristic of the Duke's character is his arrogance. He
could not stand his last Duchess appreciating anyone but him. This can
be seen in, "some-how I know not how as if she ranked/ My gift of a
nine-hundred-year old name/ With anybody's gift." The Duke feels that
the Duchess valued his gift the same as she received others. He, in
fact, ranked his nine-hundred year-old name, his nobility and
especially status above everything. Therefore he felt, his gift could
not be bettered by anyone. This quote also suggests that the Duke was
proud about his status.

The Duke is obsessively possessive. This can be seen in "That's my
Last Duchess painted on the wall." This quote shows how the Duke
regarded the Duchess as one of objects. Also within this quote, the
possessive pronoun "my" is used. This highlights his possessive
qualities. Later on in the poem, we see that he treats every woman in
such a manner. This can be seen in "Though his fair daughter's self,
as I avowed/ At starting, is my object." He describes the Count's
daughter as being an item. This also shows that the Duke was after the
money he was going to receive as dowry after he married the Count's
daughter. Therefore we can see that the Duke was greedy and powerful.

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