Soliloquies - Role of Speaker in Browning's Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister

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Role of Speaker in Browning's Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister    

The speaker in any poem is significant because he enables the reader to aquire information necessary in order to enter the imaginary world of the work.  In Browning's Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister, the solitary speaker, who is a monk overwhelmed with hatred toward a fellow monk, plays an important role as the guide in the world of the poem.  The diction, structure, and tone of the entire poem communicate the speaker's motives, perceptions, emotions, and behavior.

The narrator in Browning's poem proves that the speaker is not always a reliable guide because his thoughts reflect anger and hatred instead of giving the reader an unbiased
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While the speaker attempts to negatively influence the reader's perception of Brother Lawrence, the author's diction portrays his ironic tone which in turn exposes the speaker's own hypocrisy.  The speaker cannot stand his "heart's abhorrence" whose mouth he refers to as a "swine's snout."  The speaker has no tolerance for Brother Lawrence, only hate.  Ironically, a man who is supposed to be holy and good loathes another human being.  In line 57, the reader learns that the speaker possesses a "scrofulous French novel" that would make one "grovel" by simply catching a glance.  If the speaker were a holy and upright monk, he would not possess such a piece of literature.  It is obvious that the speaker must have read the book in order to realize the affect that it would have on a person.  The author's use of

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