Robert Browning’s poems were written in the Victorian era in the dramatic monologue style, which Browning was famous for developing. This style is characterised by being an extended speech to a silent audience, being highly coloured and having elements of irony. Porphyria’s Lover is about an insecure, possessive and egotistical lover who, upon finding a moment in which he is reassured of his partner’s love for him; attempts to preserve the moment by killing her. The poem has a very dark theme, being murder which is also discussed in two of Browning’s other famous poems, My Last Duchess and The Laboratory and there are parallels that can be drawn between the characters within My Last Duchess and Porphria’s Lover. Through the diction the reader see the speaker’s true character, which is also mirrored by the setting of the poem. The reader also sees how the subject, Porphyria, is misrepresented by the speaker and that the negative impression that the speaker tries to portray of her cannot be substantiated.
The poem opens with a description of the setting, there is a storm raging outside a cottage and what was a “Sullen wind [is] soon awake”. From the diction we see that there was some form of silence and that something within nature was being repressed, this though has brewed into a storm which mirrors the speaker’s anger. The wind is in the third line described as tearing down “Elm-tops for spite” and in the following line as doing “Its worst to vex the lake.” Once again the setting mirrors the speaker; we get the impression that he is a spiteful character that has a desire to agitate. All this emotion that the speaker has is directed towards his lover, Porphyria, who the speaker resents because he is of the impression that she does not give herself fully to their relationship. The fact that she has not appeared to visit him is what is frustrating, because he feels that he should be all that matter’s in her life. This is the first suggestion of the speaker’s...
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