I am going to analyse the poems "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess". These poems are very similar to each other, as I will be explaining further in this essay, because they both have similar subjects, both being killing and jealousy. Robert Browning, the contemporary English poet, writes both Porphyria's Lover and My Last Duchess. They both have murders and both have rages of jealousy and the two men in the poems have got to own their women, that is their psychological disabilities which have plagued their minds. The men's view on their women was that they should be treated as objects rather than actual human beings.
Both women are kind and thankful to every person they see. They smile at everyone and even say "hello" to people, even if they don't know them, much to their lovers' dismay. In Porphyria's Lover, Porphyria is kind and understanding and is kind to everyone she sees, again even if she does not know them. If her lover was upset, she would go to him and make him feel happier. " And last, she sat down by my side and called me. When no voice replied, she put my arm around her waist. This is important in the poem because it's the last thing she did and he is saying it will be the last thing she ever does.
Porphyria's Lover wants to be the leader in their relationship and wants to control everything in it. "Be sure I looked up at her eyes happy and proud; at last I knew Porphyria worships me; surprise made my heart swell, and still it grew while I debated what to do. " He is now saying that she worships him at last, and she now feels happy and proud. He is now certain that Porphyria worships him and only him and he is confident it will always be this way. In My Last Duchess, the Duke is very obsessive and wants the Duchess to be his and only his.
He would be described as a control freak if he would make his feelings clear to her. He wants her to do exactly how he wishes in his mind. He is the sort of person who can't understand when they are kind or if they are happy 100% of the time. The Duke is controlling all the time and wishes to keep people as an object, a teddy bear for instance with a young child. This is again in comparison with Porphyria's Lover because both men in the poems are jealous of their kind, happy wives and both are control freaks who want their women as objects and not as the human beings they are.
He refers to her as an object in the line "That all it scorned at once is fled, and I, it's love; am gained instead. " In Porphyria's Lover, the first line "The rain set early in to-night. The sullen wind was soon awake. " This is personification because it is explaining that the rain has started early and the wind was soon awake after it. It is saying that the rain and wind are being like people. The weather is Porphyria's Lover and is bad throughout the poem. I know this because when Porphyria comes into the room, she is saturated in water and when she is killed it is still raining.
In came Porphyria, straight she shut the cold out and the storm. " The language of the poem is passionate, all the time explaining Porphyria's love for her lover and his love for her. "Murmuring how she loved me, she too weak, for all her hearts endeavour. " When Porphyria enters the house, the weather changed in two ways, figuratively and literally. For the figurative meaning, when Porphyria enters the house, the bad weather seems to change instantly to her lover, it is warm and cosy compared to the rain and wind outside. The literal meaning is that Porphyria enters the house and shuts the cold outside.
Porphyria's actions when she comes into the house are to get her wet clothes off and sit in front of the fire to dry. "She withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl, and laid her soiled gloves by. " The line "And last" in the poem is ambiguous and important because it's the last thing she did. Also, the line is saying it may be the last thing she ever does in the poem, but we know it definitely is. When Porphyria sits down, she calls her lover's name but to no reply. She then senses her lover's mood and goes to sit down next to him and starts being loving towards him. "She called me.
When no voice replied, she put my arm about her waist and made her smooth white shoulder bare and all her yellow hair displaced. " Porphyria is in control of the situation at the time, but her lover soon gets really angry and is desperate to get in control of the situation. I think this makes Porphyria's Lover more and more angry and this makes him need to kill her in his point of view. "But passion sometimes prevails nor could tonight's gay fest restrain a sudden thought of me so pale for love of her and all in vain. " So she was come through wind and rain. This will annoy him because he wants her to be an object.
In the middle of the poem, Porphyria's Lover begins to realise that Porphyria loves him when he looks up at her eyes and sees that they are happy and proud. She came back from the party just to be with him. "Be sure I looked up at her eyes happy and proud. " Porphyria's Lover feels that at last she worships him. Browning uses the word to the importance of his mental anguish at the thought of her not being with him and being with her family. This is actually religious imagery in this line. "Porphyria worshipped me. " Porphyria's Lover treats her as an object and not as a human being.
He is very possessive and this possessiveness becomes a problem for him because, later on in the poem, we know that he becomes that obsessed with Porphyria tat he kills her. "That moment she was mine, mine, fair. Perfectly pure and good. " He means that when she worships him, he feels she is clean and pure. But she was "Soiled" when she only loved him. He wants to capture the moment forever. He is now in control. The language used up until Porphyria's death is descriptive yet intense to make the reader of the poem want to read on and it certainly made me want to read.
There is also a lot of imagery in this part of the poem such as "As a shut bud that holds a bee. " This piece of imagery is relating to nature. The lack of punctuation used shows that there needn't be any because the lack of sentences. Porphyria's Lover must be feeling very angry and upset to eventually go as far as killing her and in the time he has with her he feels he has to make her his, he has to make her an item. He has to transform her from a human being to a lifeless object. What happens next is in my view the best part of the poem.
Porphyria's Lover finally flips in anger and frustration and kills Porphyria. "All her hair in one long, yellow string I wound three times round her throat. " I think this reveals that the nature of Porphyria's Lover is possessive and he doesn't understand how to let things go. I think he doesn't want to let anything go from his grasp. I think he is the type of person who if you had gone out and said you would be back at 10PM but came back 15 minutes late, he would probably have already phoned the police by the time you came back. He now feels that he has achieved something after murdering Porphyria.
He now feels that she is an object and an object that will now worship him forever. He also feels that Porphyria felt no pain when she was strangled and he senses that the murder was not gruesome but soft and kind. "I'm quite sure she felt no pain. " He then thinks she is happy that she has been killed and she is now an object. Porphyria's Lover thinks that because when he opens her eyes, they are red and rosy but he thinks this is a sign. "I warily opened her eyelids, again laughed the blue eyes without a stain. " But really, she can't feel anything now she is dead.
After Porphyria's Lover has murdered her, he removes her hair from her neck. He thinks she is blushing when he kisses her but really it's because it's the way she's lay and the blood is rushing to her head. "I untightened the tress around her neck her cheek once more blushed bright beneath my burning kiss. I propped her head up as before, only this time my shoulder bare. "
The language is again descriptive and shows the true feelings of Porphyria's Lover character by the language being like him telling the story. At the end of the poem, the ambiguous line of "We sit together now. Porphyria's Lover means a new change in perspective, he is now saying we, not him and her as individuals. In his view, they are now a couple forever. In My Last Duchess, the poem is similar to Porphyria's Lover because both the women in the poems are dead at the end, but in My Last Duchess, when the poem starts the woman is already dead. Both poems are plagued with jealousy and possessiveness.
In the start of My Last Duchess, it is similar to Porphyria's Lover in the way that the two poems are dramatic monologues where the male is explaining his thoughts and feelings about his lover. That's my last Duchess painted on the wall. " The opening of the poem sees the Duke telling his feelings for his lover and her being an object. "I call that piece a wonder now. " He is telling a visitor about a painting of The Duchess. The Duke is also enraged by his ex-wife's friendliness, revealing alliteration whilst spitting out his words. "Such stuff was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough for calling that spot of joy. " The Duchess loved everything, including cherries that someone gave her just because of whom she was.
She loved the sunset and she favoured everything. This makes the Duke very angry and he blabbers on about how the Duchess rates the gift of cherries more highly that his 900 year old name. "The dropping of the daylight in the West, the bough of cherries some officious fool broke in the orchard for her, the white mule she rode with around the terrace all and each would draw from her alike the approving speech, or blush, at least. " The Duke killed the Duchess.
I know this because The Duke explains he gave commands to "Stop all the smiles altogether. He planned it by thinking it through in his head and then giving his commands. The language used to get his feelings across to the visitor to say he kills her shows his cruel, callous, cold nature. Words like "Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, whenever I passed her, but who passed without much the same smile? " I think he killed his wife because he just could not talk about his feelings to her. He felt he was too proud to stoop down to her level and I think this reveals that he is a very proud man who thinks he is above everyone, something special.