Comparing Poems 'My Last Duchess And' Porphyria's Lover

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Robert Browning was a popular English poet, whom gained prominence during the Victorian era for his dramatic monologues. ‘My Last Duchess’ and ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ are some of Browning most popular works, as readers are drawn in by his exploration of the blurred lines between control, love and mental instability by using subtle techniques such as his choice in the form of poem and satire.

Browning is able explore the controversial idea of control, in such a conservative age, by using the form of dramatic monologue which is “regarded as the most significant poetic innovation of the Victorian age” (Allison Chapman). Within dramatic monologues, the speaker inadvertently reveals their thoughts and information surrounding the plot. In ‘My Last Duchess’, the speaker is a Duke who although tries to paint himself as a loving husband, actually exposes himself as a jealous man who tried to control his late wife, to no avail. The duke’s desire for control is apparent in the numerous uses of caesura,
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In ‘My Last Duchess’ the duke couldn’t love his wife as she was too flirtatious and too easily made happy. The monologues satiric condemnation of the duchess as she “liked whate’er/She looked on” and “blushed” as “she thanked men” is heavy in irony, for in each criticism he bestows on the late duchess, the duke reveals his own distasteful nature. This is in stark contrast to Porphyria’s lover, who killed out of a warped sense of love. The speakers desperation to keep his lover forever and shut out society’s unjust rules on social standings, led him to “strangle her”, which is also a metaphor for being strangled by his emotions, subtly reaching for sympathy from the audience. Browning unexpectedly introduced love into a poem about murder, by using techniques such as metaphors and personification to give the speaker an indirect motive,
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