Madness In My Last Duchess And Porphyria's Lover

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What is madness? Is madness, what is perceived in today’s world - to suffer from a mental illness, the same as what was perceived in times of Italian Renaissance and the Elizabethan Era? Robert Browning, a famous poet of his time, was greatly affected by the time frame. The protagonists of Browning's literary pieces represent the time frame during which the men were disciplinarian, and very possessive about their surroundings. Browning represents madness of the early modern period through the protagonists of his two famous literary devices, "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria’s Lover”. Browning uses the concepts of objectification of women, acts of stooping, and lack of reflections in the character, shown through numerous literary devices. The…show more content…
In "My Last Duchess", the Duke’s attitude to limit and preserve the pleasant smile of the Duchess for himself displays his imperious nature over her possessions is presented in this enjambment, "Or blush, at least. She thanked men—good!…With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame This sort of trifling?” (Browning, 31-36). On the other hand, the act of sexual confrontation and foreplay by Porphyria is denoted by the usage of the word “stooping” in "And made her smooth white shoulder bare, And all her yellow hair displaced, And, stooping, made my cheek lie there” (Browning, 17-19). This denotes the extent of sexual favours from the perspective of the character, who in return takes the life of his partner for his personal convenience. The mindset of Porphyria’s lover is exposed by his act of response to Porphyria’s stooping actions, by strangling Porphyria to preserve his worshipper, and to admire her golden, pure, and pious love for him. This paradoxical situation created by the protagonist details his preposterous mind. The stooping actions, and what is presumed to be stooping for the protagonist opens a window of views, pointing to their ludicrous…show more content…
In “My Last Duchess”, the euphemism presented, "This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together.” (Browning, 45-46) suggests the lack of fear, thought, and guilt present in the character after his atrocious committing. This lack of thought and reflection about the impact of the murder, displays the insane mind-process of the character. Even-more, the thought of considering the murder duly shows an even degraded perspective of the protagonists, as can be seen in “Porphyria’s Lover”, "And all night long we have not stirred, And yet God has not said a word!” (Browning, 61-62) The protagonist claims that God has not said a word, and therefore the act of crime is alright according to him, knowing the fact that he is a believer in god. There is no religion in the world which diminishes the punishment on the murder to preserve pure, and pious love. The manipulation of religion for his own satisfaction determines his disintegration under the fear of losing Porphyria. Both the protagonist’s mind contemplate their deeds to be legitimate, which develops their madness in the literary
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