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Sydney Vaughn
Dr. Butler
ENG 234
5 February 2013
Power of Men
Robert Browning was an English poet during the Victorian era known for poems that are dramatic and dark monologues. Victorian poetry is classified poetry written in England during the time of Queen Victoria. It followed the Romantic movement, and is marked by darker qualities and subjects. Victorian Poetry, however, is much harsher and realistic. “Victorian poetry marks society's progression from the carefree notions of Romanticism to a state of social awareness and reform” (What is Victorian Poetry). Dramatic monologues were very popular in the Victorian era. “My Last Duchess” and “Porphyria’s Lover” are two of Browning’s dramatic monologues and they both focus on the passion a man has for a women, and they both end in the murder of this woman. Both men appear to have madness in their passion for their lovers but the reasoning behind the passion and for reason for the murder is what sets these two apart. The speaker in “My Last Duchess” uses a cold and dismissive tone. “Porphyria’s Lover” uses a matter of fact tone but it combines it with an erotic and bizarre tone (A comparison).

In “My Last Duchess” Browning suggested the Duke’s passion may not stem from love but more from the jealousy and a sense of ownership. The Duchess was astonishingly beautiful and wasn’t very faithful as in line, “Sir, 'twas not Her husband's presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess' cheek”. The reader can tell the Duke didn’t like that he wasn’t special to her when Browning said, “Never to stoop. Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt, whene’er I passed her; but who passed without much the same smile?” He is jealous of these other men and can’t understand why his name and money isn’t enough. Browning doesn’t come out and say it be he insinuates that the Duke had it arranged for her to be killed in the line “I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together.” The speaker of the poem exhibits an arrogance...