porphyria’s lover content essay

porphyria’s lover content essay BY vahri9797 Porphyria’s Lover Essay “Porphyria’s Lover” by Robert Browning is a poem which presents the perfect blend of form and content. The poem is written in the form of a dramatic monologue. It tells us the story of a Victorian couple who both have extremely separate outlooks on love, we are told this story through the words of the speaker. Porphyria is initially portrayed as an angelic woman who appears to be very sexually aware, which was rare of that time period. The speaker develops a sick obsession with Porphyria and ongs for this feeling between them to last forever.

The speaker, who is obviously of an unstable mind-set, eventually uses the one thing that once controlled him, Porphyria’s beauty, to control and kill her. At the start of the poem, the poet uses personification to create a frantic, alarming atmosphere: “The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm-tops down for spite” This prepares the reader for what is about to come in the poem. ‘Sullen’ and ‘spite’ suggest profound emotions, and it is as if the wind is a neglected lover destroying the ountryside.

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Yet this violence is contrasted by the entrance of Porphyria when he says she ‘glided in’. It raises the reader’s expectations that this will be a passionate love poem. This makes her murder even more shocking. The poet uses an understatement to create an extremely dire mood when the speaker kills his lover: “l found a thing to do And strangled her. ” The speaker refers to strangling Porphyria is simply ‘A thing to do’ rather than a sinister murder. The fact that the speaker found’ this implies that he is not very authoritive.

The strangling itself is revealed in cold language: he winds her hair three times around her little throat. This means that she must have struggled as he throttled her. The phrase ‘And strangled her. ‘ is the first sentence in the poem which ends in the middle of a line rather than at the end. This creates a sense of shock for the reader and shows how the killer does not seem to understand the seriousness of what he has done. The speaker then continues with an emotionless tone when he reflects on her death, using repetition for emphasis: “No pain felt she;

I am quite sure she felt no pain. ” This is as if he is Justifying his actions, and cannot bear to think of the reality. He repeats the word ‘pain’ and rephrases when he says with ‘l am quite sure … ‘, as though, in his heart, he has his doubts. If he is sure of something, it is also strange that he feels the need to try to persuade the reader as well as himself. The poet then uses romantic language to describe Porphyria after her death: “Laugh’d the blue eyes without a stain” By showing his affection for her after her death, he shows how the murder does not eem real to him.

He describes her “blue eyes” as laughing, which would be a pleasant thought if it did not describe part of a dead body. He still sees her as a living person despite what he has Just done. Finally, the poet uses an ironically Jovial tone in the last line of the poem: “And yet God has not said a word! ” This ends the poem with a final self-justification from the killer. By using the present tense, the unstable speaker ends the poem in a dramatic way. The reader does not know what will happen next. The speaker might realise what he has done or maybe he will not.

By ending the poem at this point, we are left with the speaker’s intense feelings at this moment in time. We are not confronted with the consequences of her death, much the same as the speaker. However, this implies that there may a punishment waiting for him. Therefore, Robert Brownings ironic use of romantic, Jovial and undervalued tones show the strange state of mind of the speaker in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’. He uses repetition, structure and personification to reveal the strange, obsessive emotions which cause the murder. In this way, it has a very good blend of form and content. Word count: 812


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