Robert Browning's poems 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'My Last Duchess' were both written in the form of a dramatic monologue. Both poems show a similarity because they are both narrated from the male lover's point of view. As a result, the reader becomes more closely involved in the poems and can feel very strong emotions for the individuals portrayed than if the poem was written from the eyes of an 'outsider'. This form of writing enables Browning to use irony, in which the real meaning is concealed or contradicted by the literal meanings of the words. For example, in 'My Last Duchess' the Duke orders the death of his wife, though hides the true meaning in his words:'Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; then all smiles stopped together.' 'My Last Duchess' is also written in the form of a single stanza poem, which is the unit of a poem that consists of two or more lines of verse organised according to the content and form and usually repeated as a recurring pattern in the poem. By contrast, 'Porphyria's Lover' does not follow this pattern, but has a different rhyming scheme.
On the surface, the narrators in each poem show completely different characteristics. In 'Porphyria's Lover', the narrator shows powerful emotions towards Porphyria, which demonstrate his strong romantic feelings. The reader acknowledges that the narrator is passionately in love, as the following extract demonstrates.
"Too weak, for all her heart's endeavour, to set its struggling passion free from pride, and vainer ties dissever and give herself to me forever." By contrast, the Duke in 'My Last Duchess' is shown as a formal, cold-hearted man who despised his late wife's lust for life. He wanted her respect, though all he could see was her pleasure from all around her, as the following quote shows .
"She had a heart - how shall I say? - too soon made glad, too easily impressed; she liked whatever she looked on, and her looks went everywhere"
In both poems, there are...