I wonder if even Robert envisaged that his dramatic monologues would go viral in the future and make aficionados go threadbare on the emotions which he impregnated within his monologues.
My Last Duchess: every word is shown through the prism of the Widower Duke! We know nothing of what sort of person the last duchess was. It is the duke who is saying that she was simple yet ignorant enough to treat centuries of heritage of the Duchy to be of the commons.
The Duke is unsure if he gave orders, and all smiles stopped without knowing that she was not only loyal but also committed to him! A murder of Innocence. The reader is equally confused with the equivocation of the Duke. Duke spreads his murder of Innocence.
In Porphyria’s Lover, the lover murders Porphyria, to freeze that moment of Porphyria’s display of what? Was she propitiating for her untold guilt? Or is it that the Lover was consumed with Porphyria that he believes in some guilty deed – presumably infidelity? No details are given.
Facts are assumed. In the first poem a Duchess had been murdered and the next one is being negotiated for. In the second poem the Lover has frozen a moment precluding Porphyria from any further guilty behaviour.
Both men, from the poems do not furnish proof of guilt to the readers, but the dubious circumstances in which both had died, leaves the reader with a dilemma as to whether those women deserved that treatment either from the Duke or the Lover.
I have teetered in my assessment between murder of Innocence and crime of passion. Othello is wrong and Desdemona was innocent, but Othello is also a victim of planned slander, the murder is condemned, in these poems of Robert, there is no such resolution. A tinge of morality intervenes to deny giving a clean slate to the Duchess or Porphyria!