The Theme of Love
“Romantic love, physical love, unrequited love, obsessive love.”
Compare the ways the poets have written about the theme of love,
bringing out different aspects of it.
In the six poems I have studied, I see a wide range of different types
of love mentioned. I will be looking at 3 poems in depth. These are:
“Porphyria’s Lover”, written by Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess”,
written by the Duke of Ferrara and “To His Coy Mistress”, written by
When it comes to romantic love, “To His Coy Mistress” contains some
elements of it. “To His Coy Mistress” also includes aspects of
physical love. When it comes to unrequited love, “Porphyria’s Lover”
and “To His Coy Mistress” hold a large scale in them. “My Last
Duchess” also includes shades of unrequited love. “Porphyria’s Lover”
and “My Last Duchess” contain features of obsessive love.
In my essay, I would like to pay particular attention to unrequited
love because it shows how the women in the poems are seen as a
possession, which the men must rightfully have.
I will also look at aspects of obsessive love. “To His Coy Mistress”
is not generally positioned in this type of love as the poem does not
really contain obsessive love, but in my opinion it can be placed in
the category as the speaker is pressuring the girl into having sex
with him and he wants her to sleep with him now. He is being seen as
obsessive and wanting things his way, immediately. This can be seen
when he says:
“HAD we but world enough, and time…”
This shows that time is short and wasting away. This quote is
important as it is a powerful opening, stressing the impact of time
I will first compare “Porphyria’s Lover” and “My Last Duchess” and see
how they contrast when they talk about unrequited love, and obsessive
Both, “Porphyria’s Lover and “My Last Duchess” are poems in a dramatic
monologue, with a first person revealing his feelings. Both poems have
no stanzas. This has a sense of narrative and has the story unfolding.
“Porphyria’s Lover” is a poem set in the 1970s, in a warm and safe
cottage, where there would seem to be comfort. However, outside the
weather is stormy and angry where mayhem is approaching. The “sullen”
wind and the”vexed” lake are images/metaphors that, not only, describe
the setting but what is on the narrator’s mind. Outside it is windy
and stormy; the weather is reflecting the sense of the narrator’s
feelings and mood, which in this case, is anger and violent. Porphyria
is linked to the storm as she thinks it is a safe place to get away
from it, when really she is making matters worse by going into the
cottage. The storm shows a churn of danger in the horizon.
There is then a change of atmosphere at lines 6, where it describes
Porphria making herself at home, not knowing her fate. The
speaker/Lover is monitoring Porphyria’s action and is making awareness
of what she is doing. He explains...