Both ‘My Last Duchess’ and ‘Porphyria's Lover’ Are Dramatic Monologues About Murder but They Have Very Different Protagonists. How Does Browning Guide the Readers Response to the Two Murderers?

Topics: Robert Browning, My Last Duchess, Dramatic monologue Pages: 2 (656 words) Published: February 3, 2011
Robert Browning's poems 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'My Last Duchess' are both about psychotic men who kill their lovers. However, the men differ in their motives as Porphyria’s murder could be considered to be done out of love whereas the dukes murder is one of jealousy. This heavily influences our feeling towards the two men, as the duke is a bitter misogynist compared to Porphyria’s ‘Tender murderer’. Dramatic monologue by definition is a piece of performed writing that offers great insight into the feelings of the speaker, which is exactly how Browning uses them by eliminating the aspect of a narrator he is able to influence the readers opinion on the key speaker more effectively Throughout ‘My Last Duchess’ browning is intentionally guiding our response to the Dukes character by highlighting the Dukes constant referral to the duchess as a possession, a recurring theme throughout both poems and a lot of Browning’s work. Made obvious by the Duke’s attitude towards the portrait and in directly woman in general. As in the mind of the duke the painting is a far better than the real Duchess as he has complete control on whom see’s the painting whereas he did not have control over the Duchess. Emphasizing his view on women as mere possessions as he makes the comparisons between wife’s and artwork as pieces of his collection. Jealousy and Pride also feature heavily within the Dukes personality as he creates hypothetical situations where he feels the Duchess has been unfaithful since ‘ she liked whate’er she looked on, and her looks went everywhere’ it is unclear whether or not the Duchess was indeed unfaithful but based on the Dukes personality its more likely that its his intense jealousy. The Dukes excessive pride is also on show as he brandishes his name as a gift to the duchess ‘as if she ranked my gift of a nine hundred years old name with anybody’s gift’ underlining the Dukes high regard for his social status. Browning has also made clear the Dukes hatred for...
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