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The Use of Language by Robert Browning

Uploaded by spootyhead on Mar 05, 2007

The Use of Language by Robert Browning

Robert Browning utilized the format of the dramatic monologue, the creation of expectation and surprise, and extensive use of figurative language to support the theme of possessive love in his works "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover". The dramatic personae in these works provide surprising accounts of their tormented and often jealous love and the results of their actions determine the startling revelations within each monologue. Their possessive love not only drives them to violent acts, but provides them with seemingly rational excuses for their behavior.

Though Browning utilizes the format of the dramatic monologue in both "My Last Duchess" and "Porphyria's Lover", there are a number of important distinctions between the monologic persona and the implied audience in each of these works. It is important to note these differences because they demonstrate the interactions that lead each persona to distinguish and excuse their actions relative to possessive love. In "My Last Duchess", it is clear that Browning intended to demonstrate a relationship between the monologic character and the perceived audience, while in "Porphyria's Lover" there is a determined lack of a pre-designed relationship between the dramatic persona and the audience, allowing for a completely impersonal format (Jones 301).

The dramatic persona in "My Last Duchess" is developed through the use of a monologue which is actually a non-responsive dialogue between the Duke of Ferrara and an agent, the man he hopes will negotiate his marriage to the niece of the Count of Tyrol in Austria (Bain 373). The history behind this poem suggests the presence of two individuals, and the direction of the work demonstrates this interaction. The dramatic persona, the Duke, presents the painting of the Duchess to the agent, and asks that the agent observe the painting: "Will't please you sit and look at her?" (line 5). Through the single-sided discourse that Browning creates, the Duke almost appears to answer questions presented by the agent: "And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,/How such a glance came there; so, not the first/Are you to turn and ask thus." (lines 11-13). The use of this second-consciousness that never speaks allows Browning to incorporate participation by the audience in inferring the response of the agent, and this is an effective means of bringing the audience into the...

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Uploaded by:   spootyhead

Date:   03/05/2007

Category:   English

Length:   9 pages (1,926 words)

Views:   8515

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