The Similarities and Differences in My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover

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The Similarities and Differences in My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover

'My Last Duchess' and 'Porphyria's Lover' are poems written by Robert
Browning in the form of a dramatic monologue. They both contain themes of love, jealousy, contempt and obsession.

In the beginning of 'My Last Duchess' the Duke is speaking about his wife's portrait to an envoy. In 'Porphyria's Lover' the Lover is speaking directly to the reader, conveying his thoughts, personifying the weather perhaps emphasizing his unhappiness ('the sullen wind soon awake') seeing as he had a 'heart fit to break'. Both the Duke and the
Lover are watching the women whilst they speak. The Duke hints at her having affairs; 'Fr. Pandolf's hands worked busily',
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Duke did not wish to 'lower' himself to her level by expressing his thoughts about her attitude ('who'd stoop to blame This sort of trifling?' 'I chuse never to stoop'). Both men waited for the women to show their love and loyalty first ('When no voice replied...put my arm about her waist...made her smooth white shoulder bare').

Porphyria was seductive, she 'put [his] arm around her waist', made her shoulder 'bare' and was of a higher ranking compared to her Lover whist the duchess was down to Earth, appreciative of everything and according to the Duke, was of a lower ranking, as she was a woman and he believed she 'lowered' herself. Both women felt comfortable with their lovers', they felt secure as their lovers' showed no indication of their discontempt for their behavior. The Lover felt as if
Porphyria was a coward, the repetition of her yellow hair emphasizes this (yellow is portrayed as cowardice), not wanting to give herself fully to him, 'she Too weak'. The Duke believed the Duchess was too simple for him, unlike the Lover, the Duchess was not important to him. He has a need to control things and people, like his wife. This is revealed through the following lines

'Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt,

Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without

Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;

Then all smiles stopped together'

The Duke could

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