In my perspective, Robert Browning and William Shakespeare present love and hate similarly. They both show love and hate in one action. My argument will be supported by Julius Caesar and many poems written by Robert Browning.
Julius Caesar, the great ruler of Rome, written by Shakespeare is a classic play that showed us how relationships can ruin a leadership. Brutus was always loved by Caesar. However, Brutus is known as an honourable man who is loved by many citizens of Rome. Cassius states in his soliloquy in Act 1, Scene 3, ‘Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet I see thy honourable metal may be wrought from that it is disposed.’ This shows that Cassius respects him and he is excited as he knows that he can overthrow his enemy. We know this because Cassius saved Caesar’s life when he was drowning. However, he did not gain any respect from him for doing so. ‘Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look, he thinks too much: such men are dangerous’. This quote shows the audience that there will always be an unsettled relationship between the two. The metaphor of a hungry look shows that Caesar thinks that Cassius is greedy for power. This is why Cassius wants Brutus to become the figure head of the conspiracy so that he could use him to gain power from Caesar.
This quote can also be interpreted as a different meaning. The audience at the time may have interpreted the quote differently. They may have thought that Cassius may have said ‘mettle’ instead of ‘metal’. This is a play on words as they both sound the same but have completely different meanings. This is called a homophone. Mettle is a person’s ability to confront with difficulties. This shows that some of the audience members thought that Cassius was praising him about his rise of power.
Caesar was brutally murdered by the conspirators very early on in the play. He was killed because of his ambitions but for the love of Rome. The conspirators were afraid that Caesar was going to be too powerful and use the citizens of Rome to his advantage. We know this from Brutus’s speech after he killed him in Act 3, Scene 2. Brutus stated ‘Had you rather Caesar were living, and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all freemen?’ This quote promotes his love for Rome to the readers. However we know also that part of Brutus did love him but his love for Rome meant that his action was necessary for the best of Rome.
At the scene of Caesar’s death, Shakespeare uses the powerful leader to show the final sense of love from Brutus. ‘Et tu, Brute? – Then fall, Caesar!’ He asked Brutus this after all the other Conspirators delivered their vicious blows. If Brutus wants to deliver the final blow, then he is willing to die at his feet. From this one action from Brutus, we can observe his love for Rome and Caesar but also the hatred of his ambition and ideology. This is why I believe that Shakespeare uses just one action to express the love and hate from different characters.
Calpurnia is another good example of how Shakespeare show the love and hate for Caesar in one specific moment in the play. Calpurnia didn’t want Caesar to leave her in Act 2, Scene 2 after a horrible dream about a lion in the streets and ghosts. She was begging Caesar not to leave as she has suspicions about the conspirators. ‘Do not go forth today. Call it my fear that keeps you in the house, and not your own.’ This quote shows the love for Caesar’s well-being but the hate if he decided to go. Caesar would have no excuse about not knowing the danger that lied ahead if he decided to go to the conspirators.
In my point of view, Robert Browning’s poems also show love and hate in a similar manner to William Shakespeare. The poem ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ is a poem that emits a combination of mixed emotions, including love and hate. The scene of the poem is set in a quiet but little house near a lake. A man was sitting in his armchair when a beautiful girl called Porphyria gently strolled into the room from the cold outdoors. She sat next to the man and was murmuring her love for him. We as readers know that he loves her as much as she loves him. However, the man’s love for Porphyria was too extreme. He was worried that he might not be able to keep her to himself as she was so beautiful. ‘For love of her, and all in vain.’ he decided on the spot to strangle her with her own long strands of blonde hair so he could keep her. This shows that he expressed love and hate in that single action. He despised the feeling that she could break his heart, however, loved her as he could keep her forever in his heart. We know this due to the aftermath of the murder. ‘Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss.’ The kissing after her death shows that he still loves her and that the murder wasn’t fully hatred of her. It was hatred of the possibility of wrecking his life.
Another good example of my argument could be found also in ‘The Laboratory-Ancien Regime’ which is a poem written by Robert Browning. This poem is very similar to Porphyria’s Lover, however, this poem emits more hatred than love. Pauline, the speaker of the poem, has found out that her lover is cheating with another woman named Elise. Pauline knows that her man and Elise are with each other while she is ‘Pounding at thy powder’ At the moment, Pauline is expressing a lot of anger while she is preparing a poison too powerful for herself to touch with her own bare hands. She wants her lover to see the pain on Elise’s face while she is suffocating from the poison. Robert Browning’s aim is to show Pauline’s hatred for her lover through the death on the girl he is cheating with. This is because Browning wants to show minuscule amount of love for her partner by not killing him. ‘He is sure to remember her dying face’ Pauline doesn’t want to hurt her lover physically but she wants to scar him for life mentally. This shows that in Pauline’s single action of making the powder, she is expressing love and hate for both Elise and her own lover. ‘Next moment I dance at the king’s.’ In my interpretation, I believe this metaphor is showing her passion to be back with her lover and dance with him in a romantic place. This language device, used by Robert Browning, is powerful as it shows her passion for her lover which over rules her hatred for what he has done.
If we are comparing how love and hate are shown in both the Robert Browning poems and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, I would suggest that they both use similar methods in showing it in one action. The metaphors that they use can show us two sides of the story. For example, ‘For love of her, and all in vain’ is from Porphyria’s Lover. This implies that the speaker loves her but also hates her because their relationship could destroy his own life. Whereas with Julius Caesar, ‘Et tu Brute? – Then fall, Caesar’. This shows that Caesar hates the fact that Brutus is involved with his murder. But his love for Brutus is also shown because if Brutus wants him dead as well, then there is nothing to live for and that he accepts his punishment. This is why I believe that Shakespeare and Robert Browning display love and hate in one action from specific characters in their stories.