The Point of View in "Porphyria's Lover"

Topics: Porphyria's Lover, Robert Browning, Dramatic monologue Pages: 4 (1410 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The Point of View in "Porphyria's Lover"

"Porphyria's Lover" is an exhilarating love story given from a lunatic's point of view. It is the story of a man who is so obsessed with Porphyria that he decides to keep her for himself. The only way he feels he can keep her, though, is by killing her. Robert Browning's poem depicts the separation of social classes and describes the "triumph" of one man over an unjust society. As is often the case in fiction, the speaker of "Porphyria's Lover" does not give accurate information in the story.

The speaker is a deranged man who will stop at nothing to keep his dear Porphyria. Although the introduction refers to the weather, it also does an effective job in describing the speaker. In this case, it is nighttime, and the thunder is roaring. The speaker starts by saying: "The rain set early in tonight,/The sullen wind was soon awake,/ It tore the elm-tops down for spite,/ And did its worst to vex the lake(Barnet 567):" This description gives the reader the first glimpse of what is yet to come. These turbulent words help give the poem a gloomy feeling.

When Porphyria arrives at the speaker's cottage, she is dripping wet. The speaker makes it an important point to describe her after her arrival. The description of the articles of clothing that Porphyria is wearing helps the reader know that Porphyria is from an upper-class family. She was wearing a cloak and shawl, a hat, and gloves. It is apparent that the speaker works for Porphyria's family. He lives in a cottage, somewhat distant from the main house. The cottage is cold until Porphyria warms up the room with her presence and by stirring up the fire. The way the speaker introduces Porphyria is very unique. He states that Porphyria "glided" into the room. With this description, the lover insinuates to the reader that the he sees Porphyria as some kind of angel who moves swiftly and gracefully across the floor.

The speaker is upset about the party...

Cited: Barnet, Sylvan. Literature for Composition, Third edition. Harper Collins
Publishers. New York, New York. 1992. pp567-568.
Slinn, E. Warwick. Browning and the Fictions of Identity. Barnes & Noble Books.
Totowa, New Jersey. 1982.
Maxwell, Catherine. "Browning 's Porphyria 's Lover." The Explicator, Fall 1993,
v52, n1, pp27(4).
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