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Comparing Porphyria's Lover to Farmer's Bride

Essay by   •  April 4, 2018  •  Essay  •  603 Words (3 Pages)  •  3,269 Views

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Firstly, possession and a lack of willingness to see women as equals lead to painful relationships in Porphyria’s Lover and The Farmer’s Bride. The fact that both poems are being spoken from the perspective of men portrays the sexism in 1800s society; both males were dominant over their female companions. However, in porphyria's lover, browning uses the verb "worshipped", which suggest that he wants to be loved by her and to have power over her. This creates a disturbing and suspicious atmosphere when the narrator wants to preserve this moment by killing her. On the other hand, in the farmer's bride, Mew uses the quote "I chose a maid" to illustrate his power over women. The verb "chose" suggest that his wife didn't have much choice about their marriage; it sounds like she belongs to him, like a property, which adds to the sense of ownership. This makes the reader feel unease as the society today still shows slight inequality between men and women. In both poems, the lack of equality is both presented in varies ways, such as possession and domination.

Secondly, in both of the pomes, the idea of love is presented as different forces in their lives. For example, Browning uses pathetic fallacy, such as "sullen wind", to explore love as a positive force. The pathetic fallacy creates a threatening, sinister atmosphere which reflects the narrator’s feelings of loneliness and despair when he is not with Porphyria. However, when Porphyria entered and "shut the cold out and the storm", the atmosphere immediately contrast with the previous tone, making Porphyria as a powerful and positive force for the speaker. However, Mew uses natural imagery to portray the cold forces between the farmer and his wife. The fact that she likes to "chat" with "birds and rabbits" suggest her close connection with nature that she is almost part of it. This highlights that she is withdrawn from the human world which is a source of frustration for the farmer, because the farmer says, “I’ve hardly heard her speak at all".

Thirdly, signs of distances are both hinted in both of the poems. Browning uses the line 'he looked up at her' to suggests that perhaps she is above him, perhaps socially or in terms of class. In Victorian times, this situation would be difficult for both the speaker and Porphyria as her family may not approve of their relationship because of the class difference. On the other hand, in The Farmer's Bride, she is in the 'attic' above him, which suggest physical distance. The speaker notices her physical closeness between them, adding to his frustration, therefore foreshadowing him losing control to his desires. In both of the poems, distances are shown throughout, however, browning uses class difference whereas Mew uses physical distances between them.

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