Browning gives us insights into people at crucial points in their lives
Robert Browning in all three of his poems, ‘My Last Duchess’, ‘The Laboratory’ and ‘Porphyry’s lover’, create an unusual original perspective for the readers of the poems. They all are of the same theme, murders/killings, because of love. Either because the lover is jealous, or because of hate or of love itself. ‘The Laboratory’ , shows us insight of a women who’s ‘lover’, is in love with another women. She wants to kill for love, and is motivated by jealousy. To hurt the man, she intends to poison the persona, with the poison the man makes.
The women, who Browning has made to narrate and express her feelings in the poem, seems to be quite strange, but also very sly and cunning when it comes to getting the poison of the man. From the way the language is expressed, to define her character. She even helps him make the poison, ‘Grind away moisten and mash up thy paste… ‘ We can see by the language of the poem, that the women wants the man to suffer. ‘He is sure to remember her dying face! ‘ From this we can tell that the women is trying to make the women look ugly, so that he may picture that face forever.
‘Let death be felt and the proof remain… It is obvious from some quotes that she is very eager to kill, ‘Quick-is it finished? ‘ When she sees the finished poison she says, ‘The colour’s too grim! ‘ This shows how clever and aware the women really is, as she wants the poison to look presentable, so the man’s lover may want to drink it. ‘… ere she fix and prefer! ‘ The dramatic monologue in this poem, brings out the feelings of the character and Browning has created more for the poem as a whole by doing this. If it was in third person, the poem wouldn’t be so affective, and would be less interesting because it is not from the killer herself and it would not be expressed as well.
This is what makes all the three poems more effective. This poem is divided into stanzas, and this helps the poem to be more interesting, for it makes you read quicker and so gets closer to the poisoning, closer to the dramatic ending. The other poems are also in stanzas, but much shorter ones. ‘My last duchess’, which is written as a monologue as well. Consists of iambs, iambic pentameter, five iambs in a line with ten syllables. (Iambic pentameter is when there is a stress on the second word, and the first word is soft, and they are all in rhyming couplets.
This poem is set as a Duke having a conversation with an envoy sent by the count to discuss his daughter to marry the count’s daughter. This makes this poem different from the others. But also complicated, as its difficult to know when the man narrating and is talking to the envoy, or himself. And we only really find out who the Duke is talking to at the end. They talk about him and his past life or experience with his wife. With the help of a painting of his wife. And this is portrayed with his expressions of anger and jealousy from his past wife. This poem is also about a killing.
But not as obvious as the others, for it is not expressed in detail as much as the other poems. It is also about love and the man being jealous, or annoyed with his wife communicating with other men, and not paying all her attention to him. ‘Too soon made glad, Too easily impressed… ‘ From the way in which Browning has used the language we get an overall idea about the character. The way in which Browning has expressed the words in the poem for the character. Browning has made it formal, which suits the Duke’s powerful character.
The poem shows us that the duke’s wife did not satisfy him. ‘Herself be lessoned… But also he does not talk about how much he disliked her doing the things he was annoyed with her doing. ‘Who’d stoop to blame… ‘ But only uses ‘… Disgusts me… ‘ A powerful use of language. He is warning the count’s envoy how she behaved, and if the count’s daughter shall do the same, the same will become out of her. The language Browning uses in this poem tells us that the Duke sees himself as very powerful and rich. ‘Notice Neptune, though Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity. ‘ The language here is showing us that the Duke wants people to know of his riches, and from this statue he can show power and authority.
All the Duke really cares about is his image, his name of the family. And if he will be marrying the count’s daughter, he shall need her total attention, for he will be sharing his name. ‘My gift of a nine-hundred year old name… ‘ The uses of a monologue, creates a better atmosphere for the poem, but also makes it more difficult to comprehend it. It also really helps the story line to be more powerful, with the layout of the discussion. ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ , is different from the other two poems, as it is very self explanatory. The language is not too difficult and the story line is quite easy to follow.
It has four iambs in a line with eight syllables. It has a quite simple rhyming pattern, as to every other line, the last word rhymes. It is also a dramatic monologue, which helps us to see why the man acts in such ways. Browning uses more descriptive lines in this poem than ‘My last Duchess’ , not just for the killing but also about the environment and situation before the killing and after. ‘The sullen wind was soon awake… ‘ , ‘Blaze up and all cottage warm.. ‘ Browning uses comparisons here to create more for the understanding of the different weathers, outside and in ‘…
Shut the cold out… ‘ Browning has used more original writing in this poem when it comes to the killing. You would think that the killing would be powerful and fast. But Browning has created an unusual setting. The killing is calm and simple. There is no passion or violence. We could even say that the absence of passion and violence is worrying. And it really creates a different atmosphere compared to the other poems. ‘And strangled her. No pain felt she; I am quite sure she felt no pain. ‘ Browning uses repetition here to create more to the scene, at that moment, to make it more dramatic.
That moment she was mine, mine fair… ‘ The ending also very calm, as to, ‘And thus we sit together now, And all night long we have not stirred… ‘ All three of these poems are quite different, and Browning has used a range of ideas and language to create three very good poems. The language in the poems help to define each character with out actual describing them. The dramatic monologue helps the poem to see every character’s view. And to help give us an overall idea of why the characters in the poems act in such ways to others.
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