How do ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘Stop all the Clocks’ convey a feeling of love and loss Essay
‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘Stop all the Clocks’ express feelings of love and loss. Passion and grief are two very strong emotions that are portrayed diversely by the authors, Robert Browning and W H Auden. The love shown and expressed in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ is very intense and obsessive.
The Lover craves Porphyria to be ‘mine, mine, fair’. The Lover wanted Porphyria to ‘give herself to me forever’. At first, when Porphyria came to his cottage, he ignored her. He disliked the fact that Porphyria had not been by his side earlier, for Porphyria had left her ‘pride’ behind to come and see him.
However, he was glad that she had come to visit him, for when she arrived ‘all the cottage warmed’. Porphyria must have loved him because she came through the ‘sullen winds’ and ‘rain’ to come and sit ‘by my side’. The Lover narrates how ‘she too weak, for all heart’s endeavour, to set its struggling passion free’. He imagined that ‘Porphyria worshipped’ him.
Robert Browning suggests that the Lover thought of Porphyria being a possession rather than a person. The Lover imagines that because she ‘loved me’, she would die for him. Robert Browning conveys love to be a dangerous and powerful emotion.He expresses this by showing how feelings as deep as this would drive somebody to murder.
In ‘Stop all the clocks’, W H Auden expresses love differently to the way Robert Browning does. ‘Stop all the clocks’ is a poem about a person who has lost a loved one. It shows the affection and adoration a man had for another man. In ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ the Lover does not care when his loved one dies. It is the total opposite in ‘Stop all the clocks’, in which he feels as if his life is over.
W H Auden shows how much this man meant to him by the words he used. He was everything to him, ‘my North, my South, my East, my West’.The third stanza is the stanza that makes it comprehensible that he dearly loves the other man. Everything the man did evolved around him; he was ‘my working week and my Sunday rest, my noon, my midnight, my talk, my song’. He loved him dearly. He does not need to be named when he dies because that is the only person that matters, ‘He Is Dead’.
You can start to understand how much he loves him by the devastation you can feel when you read his words. When he dies ‘nothing now can ever come to any good’. W H Auden coveys love as an adoration, a trustfulness and a mutual relationship to have with another person.This contradicts the feeling of love shown in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’.
‘Porphyria’s Lover’ also deals with another emotion; loss of someone you love. The way this is expressed is very unusual. The person who has lost the loved one, the Lover, feels no grief. He was actually the one who killed Porphyria.
I find this very peculiar. After she has been killed, she has a ‘smiling rosy head’. The killer is evidently the narrator because he imagines that by killing her he has done ‘her darling wish’. I believe that he is insane as well because he has killed someone that he dearly loves.The Lover wanted Porphyria so much that he became obsessed with her.
This may have also caused his insanity. If he had not been obsessed or insane, I don’t believe he would have killed her. The obsession made him want to have her all the time and the insanity made him kill her to have her. His insanity blocked his view that he was actually not going to have her anymore by doing this.
His obsession made him kill her because he would rather go without her, than anybody else have a relationship with her. W H Auden does not convey the narrator as having any loss at all.The narrator actually feels that he has ‘gained’, rather than lost anything. ‘Stop all the clocks’ conveys a deep loss. W H Auden writes the poem about ways people could pay respect to the lost loved one.
‘Let aeroplane circle moaning overhead’ is one way that he wants people to pay respect. An aeroplane does not normally moan, but he feels that it does moan because he wants to express the grief and loss he feels, so that everyone knows that his lover is dead. He wants the world to know what has been lost, so he describes the ways of showing how this can be done.The title ‘Stop all the clocks’ suggests that he wants the time to stop; that he wished this time had never taken place so his lover would still be alive.
He feels as though he has lost part of himself, he ‘thought love would last forever: I was wrong’. ‘North’ and ‘South’, ‘Noon’ and ‘Midnight’ are pairs. W H Auden uses these pairs to show that he has lost part of him. He does not know how he can go on now that his lover has died, ‘Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun’, for he does not know how the world can go on now.This is an unusual thing to say because the sun is needed for people to survive.
Its as if he is no longer needed on Earth, as if he has no point in living. W H Auden conveys a deep sense of loss. He makes the reader picture images using his vocabulary, which is based on everyday things that people would notice like ‘policemen’ and ‘aeroplanes’. ‘Stop all the clocks’ shows grief, unlike ‘Porphyria’s Lover’. ‘Stop all the clocks’ and ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ are based on the same principle of love and loss, but are conveyed totally differently.W H Auden conveys the death of the man as a tragedy.
On the other hand, Robert Browning does not convey a loss, but Porphyria has died. W H Auden expresses love as a selfless and pure emotion. Which is differed by Robert Browning, who expresses love as an obsessive emotion. I feel that these poems contradict the saying; ‘it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all’. I believe that these poems suggest this because through the power of love, one of the people has turned insane and the other has lost the will to live.