Victorian Era Essay

1074 words - 5 pages

First published in 1836 by Robert Browning, Porphyria’s Lover, didn’t receive it’s definitive name until 1863; Browning was widely considered to be one of the Victorian Era’s greatest poets. The poem portrays a couple and their relationship during the Victorian Era, where women were seen as completely inferior to men. Women did not have suffrage rights during this time, and were also not allowed to sue, or own property. Browning depicts the Victorian era as both unpleasantly stiff and unforgiving. Browning both vividly and explicitly paints a picture of cold-blooded murder in Porphyria’s Lover, similar to how he merely implies it in his poem My Last Duchess. I believe that Porphyria’s Lover ...view middle of the document...

This displays the numbness of the senses that was commonplace during the Victorian era. The most shocking part of the poem isn’t necessarily the murder itself, but the reason why Porphyria was murdered. Her lover took her life after she broke nearly every social norm and confessed her undying love for him, he was then convinced that “Porphyria worshiped me: surprise / Made my heart swell, and still it grew / While I debated what to do. / That moment she was mine, mine, fair, / Perfectly pure and good” (36-39). Compared to the popular scandals of the time, the death of a woman would be quite insignificant, but Browning is able to make it important to his audience by having Porphyria’s lover be the murderer. By doing this he attempts to invoke some type of emotion and shock from his audience. I believe that Browning does this in order to convey how disturbed their society was during the Victorian era.
On the other hand, Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess, is the perfect example of the buried life. Ferrara is a Duke who comes off to be quite the gentleman. When he is showing his visitor, that wants Ferrara to have another marriage, he stops at a portrait. The portrait is of his last duchess who died a few years back. He hints that she would flirt with everyone and didn’t appreciate his “gift of a nine-hundred year old name”. He then continues to hint off that he did indeed kill her. Browning is showing how Victorian society has drained away almost all the romantic ideals that come along with marriage. In the Victorian era, marriage has become more of a business engagement, dependent on one’s rank in society, income, and good character. Although he comes off as a gentleman, if you look beneath the surface, you see that this is just a facade.
I believe that Browning does a great job of conveying the message he wanted with both of these poems, but his use of shock factor combined with violence in Porphyria’s Lover creates an even bigger statement about the Victorian era than what My Last Duchess is able to...

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