The poem “Porphyria’s Lover” by Robert Browning demonstrates how jealousy can destroy a relationship. Browning dominates dramatic monologue to create the speaker of the poem, who lives in a cottage with his lover, a young woman named Porphyria. She gives joy to the cottage and offers him her bare shoulder unconditionally. Porphyria tells him how she has been overcoming societal strictures to be with him. He understands that in a way she worships him at that moment. When he realizes that she will eventually give in to society’s pressures he decides to murder her. In lines 36 to 37, the speaker states, “That moment she was mine, mine, fair, Perfectly pure and good.” These lines imply his lack of confidence and obviously his fear of Porphyria giving up society’s criticism. In lines 39 to 41, he also states “In one long yellow string I would Three times her little throat around, And strangled her.” These lines show how he strangles her for his insane doubts of losing her. Then he sits next to her body the entire night. According to a professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, Richard Smith, “jealousy arises when a relationship is infringed on by a rival who threatens to away something that is in a sense rightfully yours.” In this case the rival in his eyes are unfaithful influences for Prophyria that will take her away from him. As said by Marano in ‘Love Destroyer,” studies have shown jealousy is a leading cause of homicide. In way he strangles her because if she will not stay with him then she will not be for anyone either. The speaker in Browning’s “Porphyria’s Lover” reveals how his actions of jealousy destroys a relationship.
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