Compare Contrast Essay

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Robert Browning: A Contrast of Love, Jealousy, Murder and Psychoses Robert Browning, an English poet and playwright, was known for his dramatic monologues. Several of his dramatic monologues shared dark themes involving love and murder; however, their motivations are very different. By examining My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover, we can compare these subject matters. My Last Duchess is a cautionary tale told to warn a prospective wife of her future groom's expectations. The Duke tells about his late wife's portrait and how the painter caught the "depth and passion of it's earnest countenance" (line 8). The duke explains that the painter captured an expression that should have been meant only for him. "Sir, t'was not her husband's presence only, called that spot of joy into the Duchess' cheek" (13-15). The Duke continues to think that the Duchess is openly flirting with men. He is glad that she expresses thanks to men, but believes that she does not value what the Duke has given her. "She thanked med - good! But thanked somehow - I know not how - as if she ranked my gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name with anybody's gift." (31-34). Ultimately, due to his own jealousy, the Duke ordered the death of this duchess. Porphyria's Lover is a poem that describes a late night meeting of two lovers gone askew. Porphyria travels through the rain to meet with her lover. As Porphyria declares her love for him, the speaker describes Porphyria as "too weak, for all her heart's endeavor to set its struggling passion free" (22 - 23). As they spent time together, the lover begins to like the way Porphyria looks at him. He says "at last I knew Porphyria worshipped me" and later foreshadows with "Surprise made my heart swell, and still it grew while I decided what to do" (33-35).

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