POETRY - ROBERT BROWNING

Summary of the Narratives

Summary of the Narratives

‘My Last Duchess’

‘My Last Duchess’ is a sinister dramatic monologue where a duke is making arrangements for his second marriage with the envoy of a count, whose daughter he wishes to marry. He spends most of the poem talking about his first wife, whose portrait they are admiring. The key to this poem is inference because, perhaps deliberately, perhaps overcome by memories of his last Duchess, the Duke gives away a lot about why he needs a new wife in the description and explanation of her portrait.

‘Porphyria’s Lover’

The poem is a dramatic monologue, which begins with a man waiting for his lover Porphyria. We see him become tense and agitated as he worries she will not come. Despite her efforts to warm him on a cold night and show her love for him, the man explains how he killed her by strangling her with her own hair. The poem is particularly disturbing as it is from the point of view of a killer who believes her death to be necessary for their love and does not feel the horror of his acts, sending a chill through his listener. The poem explores love and madness.