With women’s liberation and the closing gap between gender inequalities, the modern woman is characterized as liberated, free, in control, and strength personified. However, the women during the nineteenth century were far from this. Although it cannot be said that they were weak, they were generally still compelled to become submissive to the male forces in their lives. Men that time dominated the women and sadly, women then were treated as possessions—things of beauty that were meant to be displayed and pushed around. Although this is a generalization, societal view of women as inferior to men during the nineteenth century is crucial to this paper. . This then effectively sets the mood and tone of the two pieces of literature that will be reviewed and critically analyzed in this paper. Because they were both written during the nineteenth century, both texts exhibit in clear detail how it is to become a woman during that time—repressed, limited, and treated as an object of pleasure, or just a plain object and possession.
It has been said, that this graphic poem of Robert Browning was based on a true to life murder that happened during his time, which was entitled, John Wilsons "Extracts from Gosschens Diary" and was published in Blackwoods Magazine in the year 1818 (Maxwell 27). The diary entry described how “a man knifes a woman to death, talks of the corpses blue eyes, golden hair, and white breasts, and describes the feeling of perfect happiness the murder gives him” (Wikipedia). True or not, this presents a hauntingly familiar scene as it is somehow reenacted in Browning’s poem.
Though many interpretations could be made regarding this very explicitly written poem, the author of this paper will dwell on a particular interpretation that suits the purpose of the paper in elucidating the way women were typecasted back then through the extrapolation of the relationship of men and women as seen through the characters in these literary texts.