"My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning

Essay by one4kelUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2004

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Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover" are two poems that are dramatic monologues that depict a disturbing story. Even though the speaker's attitude between the husband and wife were different in each poem, both the duke and the lover are unable to deal with their feelings realistically or properly. The duke and the lover disregard the women's feelings and physical well being in favor of their own selfish love.

The two poems express a common theme that possessions make the men feel complete not love. The men in both of the poems appear to be insecure and possessive. The speaker in each literary piece is telling a story of the love he has for his late wife; however, the speaker does not show emotion and does not grieve throughout the poem. It is never states that the duchess or Porphyria is missed by the men. Neither of the men expresses gratitude for the love the women give them, nor do they explain any faults the women might have.

The two men, the duke and the lover, seem to be self serving people that don't want love, but want the control and power.

The duke in "My Last Duchess" and the lover in "Porphyria's Lover" express different attitudes in each poem, even though there is a common theme. From the beginning of the poem, the duke appears to be jealous of the duchess. He thinks she should place him above everyone else; however, he has too much pride to tell the duchess. According to the duke he chooses "never to stoop" (line 42). The duke's attitude seems negative as he describes the duchess as a woman that was "too soon made glad, too easily impressed" (22-24). He later "gave commands / then all smiles stopped together" (45-46), and shortly...