My Last Duchess And Porphyria's Lover

1734 words - 7 pages

The murder was a method to attain love in both monologues. 'My Last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's Lover' are famous dramatic monologues by Robert Browning who wrote forms of dramatic monologue in the Victorian era. Both the poems sketch the man’s obsession with a woman that concludes in her murder. His way of showing love is that it eventually turns into death or a murder. Together the monologues include the issues of jealousy, obsession, love, and hatred. Individually the speakers were exceptionally possessive, the murders were deliberate; the monologues had different setting, tone, and approach to make it sound more dramatic.
Both speakers in each monologue were selfish men who love their victims. They loved their women for their beauty but did not care for the love that was unseen in their beauty. In 'Porphyria's lover', Browning writes about an abnormally possessive lover waiting for his woman to return. The lover is obsessed with Porphyria, and wants this moment of love to last forever. He feels that Porphyria loves him the same way. He is always happy when she is around him. The speaker had said, "Happy and proud; at last I knew/ Porphyria worshiped me: surprise/ Made my heart swell, and still it grew" (32-34). The speaker is also egocentric and jealous but while the speaker was killing the woman. The speaker had said,
"In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain." (39-43).

The speaker killed his victim by tying her hair around her neck. The women did not stop him. By killing, he knew she could not leave him anymore. She would be his and only his until the end. Similarly, the Duke is a proud, possessive, and a lover of the arts. He regards his wife as an object that exists only to satisfy him and listen to his commands. He likes the portrait of her because, she does not annoy him anymore and he has complete control of the portrait painting as a one of the unique art piece that can be shown to the visitors. The speaker had said, "Will't please you sit and look at her? I said/ "Fra Pandolf" by design, for never read" (6-7). The speaker talks about how he admires his painting and wants his guests to sit down and admire it. He became annoyed, when attention was given to his wife and not to him. He had loved the attention that was given to him by her. The Duke certainly appeared disappointed about his wife's flirtatious behaviour. She would always be happy even if someone stole berries from her own bushes and gave them to her. The Duke is always proud of his name but he thought she was not living up to his standards. As he talks about the sweet, young Duchess, the audience learns that the Duke had her executed because she smiled at others. He was being possessive because he did not want his wife to be around anyone. She was always gracious, smiling, and kind to all. The speaker had said,
"Fra Pandolf chanced to say, “Her mantle laps
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