PORPHYRIA’S LOVER – ANALYSIS
Porphyria’s Lover was first published in 1836 and is one of the earliest Browning’s dramatic monologue. The speaker voice lives in a cottage and he is waiting Porphyria, while the weather outside is bad. When Porphyria arrives, she is able to make the cottage glow. Then she takes off her outside clothes, sits beside her lover and speaks to him, without receiving an answer. Later she puts her arm around his waist, his head on her bare shoulder and speaks of her love. Meanwhile, the speaker thinks that sexual consummation will happen soon, surprised by the depth of the love she shows for him. He wonders how to act at this moment of her total purity and he decides to strangle her with her hair. Not only is The lover convinced she fills no pain, but also he is convinced that Porphyria has achieved her desires. After killing her, he opens her eyes, unwinds her hair, kisses her cheeks and puts her head on his shoulder. Finally, the two last lines tell us that the lover sits all night, contentedly, with her body. Like most of Browning’s dramatic monologues, this one captures a moment after a main event or action and Porphyria already lies dead when the speaker begins. The poem opens with a scene taken from the Romantic poetry of the earlier nineteenth century, while a storm rages outdoors, the speaker sits in his own cottage. The moment in which Porphyria shows her bare shoulder, is a level of overt sexuality that has not been seen in poetry since the Renaissance. Here sex appears as something natural, acceptable, although during the Victorian Age that was a “prudery” considered immoral. The meter of the poem is pretty regular and the rhyme scheme remains fixed. The language isn’t all that difficult in Porphyria’s Lover, and the speaker’s matter-of-fact tone means short, with simple sentences. Moreover the cadence of the poem mimics natural speech, although the speaker is talking about a murder. Nevertheless, his tone is incredibly...
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