Text | Porphyria’s Lover – Robert Browning (published 1836)
Porphyria’s Lover (1836) is one of Robert Browning’s earliest dramatic monologues that reintroduced dark and sensual concepts disturbing the audience of the Victorian Era; since such ideologies had not been explored since the Renaissance Period. He employs annotative literary techniques such as morbid imagery, metaphors, symbolism and natural and vegetative diction; to portray the innate trait of humans to yearn for a sense of belonging whilst seeking to remind us of the disturbed condition of modern psyche and its destructive nature in our changing society. The erratic mood of her lover is depicted through the use of pathetic fallacy “The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm-tops down for spite”. When Porphyria enters her lover’s cottage from the relentless storm, she “shuts out the cold” and he changes, bathing in her presence. This portrays his deep desire to attain her undivided love and attention; reflecting their tense and sensual relationship. Porphyria’s Lover experiences an abrupt tonal shift when Porphyria confesses her love to him; where he becomes elevated in the realisation of her utter devotion, emphasised through the repetition in; “That moment she was mine, mine”. However, he finds this unsatisfactory with the impeding temporality of their relationship, subsequently strangling her, sadistically eternalising the moment. This reflects the human condition in which we desire belonging, to feel an eternal attachment to another entity, till the point it overwhelms us, consuming our sanity. Thus with our inner psyche no longer repressed by moral and social restrictions, the powerful sensual drives in a relationship of love, lust and belonging easily transcends the boundary towards violence, to release the uncontrollable thoughts and emotions that override our fragile human mind. 500 Days of Summer examines this disturbed human condition in a different yet very similar light. This...
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