Dramatic Criticism In Porphyria's Lover By Robert Browning

770 Words 4 Pages
Robert Browning’s unconventional dramatic monologue “Porphyria’s Lover” enters the mind of an unknown, although presumably male, psychologically complex person who tells the story of strangling his lover by winding her long yellow hair around her throat three times after she comes into his house and kindles a fire. Following Porphyria’s death, the speaker repeatedly tells himself, and tries to assure to himself, that she did not resist his strangling of her and that he had not committed a crime. The poem shines light on the obsessive behavior of the speaker, relating to the idea of never wanting to let go of someone we love. Browning unveils the speaker’s concealed insanity as the speaker takes his act one step further and kills Porphyria to …show more content…
While she is gone, the wind “tore the elm tops down for spite” (line 3). This alludes to Porphyria’s lover’s absurd thoughts - Whenever Porphyria is gone, he believes she is doing something to deliberately hurt or offend him, adding to his emotional stress. It also suggests that the two recently had a fight. “The storm,” representing Porphyria’s absence, causes to irritate and affect the clear, calm mind of Porphyria’s lover, as does the storm do “its worst to vex the lake” (line 4). This suggests that Porphyria may have been with another lover or is returning after an argument. The storm can represent a miscommunication or emotional stirrings. Moreover, the silence ensued after Porphyria returns supports the claim that the Porphyria and the speaker were previously in a quarrel. She comes back to him, “murmuring how she loved me,” as a coy attempt to apologize (line …show more content…
The combination of the two tools helps place emphasis on the juxtapositions found in the first twenty lines of the poem, and furthermore brings out the insane qualities of the lover. After she “laid her soiled gloves by,” as if she were just digging her own grave, “She put my arm about her waist, / And made her smoother white shoulder bare, / And all her yellow hair displaced, / And, stooping, made my cheek lie there, / And spread o’er all, her yellow hair” (line 15). The inverted syntax gives emphasis to the verbs at the end of the sentence, giving sexual, comforting connotations to Porphyria’s bare shoulder and her yellow hair. Moreover, they are more emphasized with the juxtaposition to the storm, giving the reader a feeling of solace. “She shut the cold out and the storm, … / Blaze up, and all the cottage warm”(line 7). Like the power of the sun, her yellow hair and bare shoulder make the thought of the storm evaporate and vanish. This is contrasted with the storm to show how lonely Porphyria’s lover is and how he never wants to be left alone. “ I listened with heart fit to break,” gives the reader an image of Porphyria’s lover anxiously waiting for her to come home (line 5). The contrast between the storm and Porphyria’s presence makes it seems as if he can only be happy when she is around. And now that he has her by his side, he wants

Related Documents