Love is a powerful and prevalent force within Highsmith and Browning’s work. The presence of this emotion, or lack thereof, drives many of the character’s interactions and thus carries the plot. Yet many of the developments resulting from one form of love or another have harmful consequences which show the true destructive power of a force that is traditionally viewed as an endlessly positive aspect of life. Different forms of love are explored in the texts, particularly in Highsmith’s novel as she depicts; platonic, romantic and parental loves, whilst focusing on the jealousy and resentment that unrequited love can form. Browning chooses to focus on romantic love and the ways in which it changes throughout life, be it bittersweet and longing such as ‘Two in the Campagna’ or dangerous and obsessive within ‘Porphyria’s lover.’ This contrast in representation shows the breadth and depth of the theme, as its many forms and influences can be seen and felt in all areas of life. The narrators within Browning’s dramatic monologues are men who search for power and gain it through domination of women, which is echoed within Highsmith’s work as Richard and Harge both show wishes to control their respective partners. Jennifer Gribble supports the idea that Browning’s male characters have an insatiable desire for power as she comments on the Duke who “murders his young wife because her physical vitality challenges his need for absolute control”1 and the lover who by claiming Porphyria as his own finds “romantic absolutism that assures the lover of his power to possess, to control, to save, and to avenge.”1 Highsmith comments on the male’s experience of love through Carol, claiming “It’s not love. It’s a compulsion.”2 Love can be viewed as a destructive force in every area it appears, as its presence inspires madness and jealousy within those who feel it, or resentment and guilt in those receiving unwanted attention.A crucial relationship throughout ‘Carol’ is the one between Therese and her boyfriend, Richard. Through this relationship Highsmith demonstrates the dangers of unrequited love, as she highlights the resentment and guilt that grows due to the relentless affection Richard places upon Therese. Nancy Smart, 13NH, Lit AHighsmith shows the suffocating nature of this relationship as Richard physically draws Therese to him “He took her hands and drew her arms around his waist.”2 Highsmith builds Richard and Therese’s relationship upon a foundation of problems as she leaves frequent remarks such as she “didn’t love Richard enough to marry him”2 and “felt rather miserable.”2 This lack of attraction is continued in the exploration of Therese’s feelings as though she had feelings for Richard they “bore no resemblance to what she had read about love.”2 Here Highsmith shows the reader that Therese hasn’t fallen in love yet as she has an idealistic view of how it will feel and prefers fictitious examples to the affection bestowed upon her by Richard. Browning also demonstrates this asymmetrical and waning love within ‘Two in the Campagna’ where he depicts one lover yearning after a lost time and their partner. This poem reflects many of Therese’s feelings, as Browning states “I would that you were all to me, | You that are just so much, no more.”Nancy Smart, 13NH, Lit A3 Here he is showing the reader that the love shared between these two people in finite, despite the narrator wishing they shared a deeper connection. This reflects Highsmith’s decision to depict a tepid relationship between Richard and Therese, the latter of which resembles Browning’s narrator in the respect that they both wish they felt a deeper love than they do. However, Browning’s lover is much more amorous and longs to love their partner whilst Therese is unenthused by Richard. This is because Browning is intentionally capturing the spirit of a love that has been worn by time, as “the good minute goes”


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