The Theme Of Love In Poetry

4397 words - 18 pages

The Theme of Love in Poetry

I have chosen to compare four poems, the first one is 'Porphyrias
Lover'. It is written by Robert Browning who died in 1889. The second
poem, 'My Last Duchess', is also by Robert Browning. Browning was a
great poet in the Victorian age and married Elizabeth Barratt. The
third poem is called 'First Love'. It is written by John Clare
(1793-1864). The final poem is 'Ballad'. It is an anonymous poem as
no-one knows who wrote ballads. This is because they are word of mouth
and are passed down through many generations going through minor
changes each time and therefore by the end they become a completely
different poem to the one in the beginning.

The three poets write about the same theme but, as expected, have many
differences and similarities with each other in their writing
techniques. Obviously, the two poems by Robert Browning will be very
similiar to each other. 'Porphyrias Lover' and 'My Last Duchess are
both written from a mans point of view . This shows that Browning has
used the same approach to both of the poems. Maybe he wants to make a
point of men not always being listened to and so writes both poems
with a biased interpretation of the event.

'Porphyrias Lover' is about a girl named Porphyria who seduces a man
who is possesive and undoubtedly insane. Some of the techniques included
in Porphyria's Lover are Pathetic Fallacy, endstopped lines, personification,
metaphors and en jambement. The poem begins using pathetic fallacy
(the weather and atmosphere outside reflect the girls feelings) and
personification of the wind, 'The sullen wind was soon awake', to set
the scene.

Straight away we feel edgy around this man because he says, 'I
listened with heart fit to break'. He is desperate for love from
Porphyria and because we have no previous information about their
relationship, we don't know if he is being reasonable and has met
Porphyria before or if he is being obsessive and it is their first
meeting.

When Porphyria gracefully enters the mans cottage, she changes the
atmosphere from a stormy, unhappy one to a warm, cheerful one, 'She
shut the cold out and the storm', this implies that she is a kind
person. She then continues to remove her outdoor garments and get
comfortable so as to try and seduce him, '...and made her smooth white
shoulder bare'. Lines such as this in the poem were considered very
erotic for Victorian times, the era that this poem was written.

As Porphyria seduces the man, he does not respond. This is strange
behaviour because if someone was seducing you you would be unlikely to
just sit and ignore them. She states how she loves this man although we
find out, she may have a husband or boyfriend of higher status than him,
'From pride, and vainer ties dissever' and later on in the poem, he says,
'That moment she was mine, mine, fair', This line emphasizes the mans
envy for anyone who has Porphyria after him. He wants her to love him
...

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