Comparing Poems 'My Last Duchess And' Porphyria's Lover

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A desire to have complete control over another human being can be deadly, often inciting physical abuse. In Robert Browning’s poems “My Last Duchess” and “Porphyria’s Lover,” the male speakers kill their female lovers out of envy and paranoia. In “My Last Duchess,” the Duke reveals his inability to control his wife, the Duchess, because she has relationships with other men, and finds happiness in simple things. The narrator’s jealousy transforms into an envious anger, and the Duke murders his wife in order to finally control her. Similarly, in the poem “Porphyria’s Lover,” the speaker kills his female companion because she cannot commit to loving him for eternity, and he ultimately desires power over her. Despite the different circumstances of both speakers, Browning uses prosody and diction to characterize the men in “My Last…show more content…
The presence of straightforward diction in the poem advances the insanity of the narrator because he describes suffocating Porphyria and touching her dead body in simple, direct language. For example, the narrator explains how “in one yellow string [he] wound / Three times her little throat around, / And strangled her” (“Porphyria’s” 39-41). The simple word usage depicts the impassiveness of the narrator and how he remains eerily calm amidst the sins he is committing. Furthermore, the word usage reveals the inhumane personality of the narrator as he lifts “Her head, which droops upon it still” (“Porphyria’s” 51) onto his own shoulder, a complete reversal from the beginning of the poem when Porphyria displays her control through her confident body language. The presence of informal diction in a serious, deadly poem characterizes the narrator as a deranged man who is unable to realize the evilness of his

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