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Comparing Speakers: My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover

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Nicholas hola

English 115



Comparing speakers: My last duchess and porphyria's lover

The great poet Robert Browning, who created the poems My Last Duchess and Porphyria's lover, had an interesting taste for speakers of his poems. He seems to be fond of violent, sexual and eccentric people to narrate his intriguing poems. In his poem Porphyira's Lover, a dramatic monologue, a man in a cottage talks of a woman who brings cheer to his house when she appears out of the storm outside. When the man realizes the moment won't last, he kills her by strangulation and lays her by his side. In his other poem, The Last Duchess, The Duke of Ferrara is the speaker of the poem, and tells us he is entertaining an emissary who has come to negotiate the Duke's marriage to the daughter of another powerful family. You soon realize when reading the poem that he killed his former wife The Duchess and speaks of her poor behavior despite all of her fortunes. Through out both of these poems Browning's genius choice in speakers is very prevalent and the similarities and differences between the speakers are striking.

When talking about how these speakers are similar there are many characteristics that the Duke and the man share. First of all, the men both kill the women the love. The duke killed the duchess because she flirted with everyone and did not appreciate her great name. On the other hand the man killed the woman in the cottage because he was afraid of losing her and was apparently sick in the head. Even though they killed these women for very different reasons, they killed them nonetheless. Another similarity the Duke and The Man Share is a need for love. The Duke shows this by talking of re-marrying another girl despite having just lost his loved one. The man in the cottage shows his need for love by being so afraid of losing this cheerful woman that he kills her so that he will not be alone. These men are very similar in there quest for love, because both of them have an unorthodox idea of the meaning of love. The final and most obvious attribute they both share is that they are both men that have characteristics that all men have including betrayal, fear and a consistent need for a significant other.




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