Robert Browning - My Last Duchess and Porphyria's Lover

Question: “Browning’s Poetry presents intriguing insights into the human condition” To what extent is this true of the poems you have studied.

Composers take an interest in human nature, providing insight to the human condition, exhibiting a deep understanding to what makes us human. Society is reflected through Browning’s poems where we discover interesting aspects of human nature through the focus on man’s desire for dominance and how love has the power to corrupt our lives. In Porphyria’s Lover and My Last Duchess, Browning presents a subverted idea of dominance in a relationship, focusing on how men desire to obtain love with a patriarchal view, allowing them to possess all the power. Both poems focus on how the speakers gain their dominance through placing their lover in a submissive position in their life. Browning also highlights how love corrupts lives when it turns into a manic quest for their perception of the perfection of love, leading to a drive due to jealousy.
Browning depicts the idea where dominance is only gained through placing the superior person in a submissive position allowing the speaker to gain all power. This is focused through the inversed idea of a patriarchal relationship, where an inferior male wishes to gain all power over a superior female.
In Porphyria’s Lover, “Her smooth white shoulder bare...Made my cheek like there” emphasizes how the woman is in complete power and that she has the ability to control the speaker’s actions. This highlights the subverted idea how men are not the dominant person in a relationship, but rather inferior and imasculine. Browning accentuates that placing a superior person in a submissive position results in turning inferior, allowing the speaker to gain total dominance. This is expressed through contrasting the differences of before and after he murdered her. “This time my shoulder bore her head,” emphasizes how now he holds all the power as he has objectified Porphyria, placing her in a submissive...