It was a tale of two lovers uniting in the night to express their affection and devotion. So how exactly did this tale of love, end in cruel, cold-blooded murder? Good evening and welcome to Poetry Break Down, I’m your host Mary Doe. Tonight, we will delve into the fascinating world of classic Victorian literature. Under the microscope is canonized poet, the late Robert Browning. Browning’s poetry was a reflection of his life and times living in Victorian England. Later on this evening we will analyze just how his times came to play a major role in some of his greatest works, in particular his revered poem Porphyria’s Lover. Released in 1836 (Catherine Maxwell, 1993, p.27), this esteemed text follows the murder of beloved Porphyria, the lover of the enigmatic speaker who, after inviting her to his cottage for a romantic rendezvous, strangles her. Stay tuned, for tonight we explore just how this poem come to be a perfect representation of a society that was obsessed with the dominate preoccupation of male dominance.
Robert Browning’s Porphyria’s Lover skillfully epitomizes the male desire to dominate women in all spheres of life during the Victorian Era. This power construct is foregrounded as the dominant reading through a range of literary devices in the poem, pertaining to gender roles. Originally, the dramatic monologue highlights Porphyria and her strong presence in contrast to her passive male lover.
She put my arm about her waist,
And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there
(Browning, Porphyria’s Lover, Lines 16-19)
Porphyria dominates her partner’s actions, forcing his check against her bare shoulder; a symbol of control. Narrating the sto...
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... been Jemima Hazell from Poetry Break Down, goodnight Australia.
The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Victorian Age: Introduction." The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Victorian Age: Introduction. 2010. Web. 23 Feb. 2014
"San Fransisco Browning Society." San Francisco Browning Society. N.p., 2011. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
"Literature and the Canon." English and Media Centre. N.p., 2000. Web. 24 Feb. 2014
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The death of the female beloved is the only way deemed possible by the insecure, possessive male to seize her undivided attention. This beloved woman represents the "reflector and guarantor of male identity. Hence, the male anxiety about the woman's independence for her liberty puts his masculine self-estimation at risk" (Maxwell 29). The jealous and controlling males in Robert Browning's "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess" possess a fervent desire to fix and monopolize their unconstrained female beloveds. Due to a fear of death, both speakers attempt to achieve control and deny object loss; by turning their lovers (once subjects) into objects, they ultimately attain the role of masterful subject.
In John Updike's short story, "The A&P", he writes of an eighteen-year-old cashier who is infatuated with three girls that enter the store and in Robert Browning's poem, Porphyria's Lover, He writes of a man's intense passion for his lover. Even thought these two works are different in context, they have very striking similarities. Updike's narrating main character, Sammy, is plagued by middle class monotonous life style. He shows his possessive, but spontaneous side as he describes the girls in the story with great detail and enthusiasm. Browning's narrating main character, a man unnamed is plagued by his deeply devoted love for his mistress and their inability to marry due to his lower class status. He too, shows his possessive but angry side as he describes Porphyria. The most striking similarity is they both have a selfish side. Sammy becomes a victim and the unnamed man becomes a perpetrator due to their infatuations, which lead to two very different endings.
Have you ever fallen in love? Have you ever developed strong feelings for another? If problems arose between the two of you, were you able to overcome them? Well certain men in Robert Browning’s works couldn’t seem to. . . “overcome” these differences with their women. Browning grew up learning from his father’s huge library. His wife was much more successful at writing than him. Eight years after her death, his career turned around for the last 20 years of his life. During this time, he wrote many short dramatic monologues such as My Last Duchess and Prophyria’s Lover. These two very intriguing and disturbing Monologues, My Last Duchess and Prophyria’s Lover, by Robert Browning, involve two very messed up men whose actions are both alike in their idea of immortalizing their woman, but different in why they chose to commit the act between the two stories, and a conclusion may be drawn from this observation.
McGhee, Richard. Marriage, Duty, & Desire in Victorian Poetry and Drama. Lawrence: The Regents Press of Kansas, 1980.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning follows ideal love by breaking the social conventions of the Victorian age, which is when she wrote the “Sonnets from the Portuguese”. The Victorian age produced a conservative society, where marriage was based on class, age and wealth and women were seen as objects of desire governed by social etiquette. These social conventions are shown to be holding her back, this is conveyed through the quote “Drew me back by the hair”. Social conventions symbolically are portrayed as preventing her from expressing her love emphasising the negative effect that society has on an individual. The result of her not being able to express her love is demonstrated in the allusion “I thought one of how Theocritus had sung of the sweet
In the Victorian era, it would be typical for a woman to marry for money, or for reasons other than love. Unconditional love for Victorians was rare and un-coveted. Browning’s character mak...
In “My Last Duchess” and “Porphyria’s Lover” both deal with the love of a woman. The theme for both is power and how the speaker in both want to be in control over the woman. The imagery in “My Last Duchess” is based off what the Duke’s feel and what he shares with the servant. The imagery in “Porphyria’s Lover” is based on Porphyria’s. The tone in “My Last Duchess” is arrogant and ignorant because the Duke think so much of himself and foolishly shares all his flaws. The tone in Porphyria’s Lover” is rational the speaker makes sense of the murder of a woman he loves so much. Both poems displayed dramatic
As the reader examines "Prophyria's Lover" by Robert Browning, one recognizes the complete effort of the speaker to disguise his feelings toward the murder of his wife. The speaker goes through different thoughts in relation to the life he has with his wife. Many thoughts include the positive and negative parts about her and their relationship. Throughout the monologue, the speaker tells the readers of his struggles of coming to the conclusion of murdering his wife and the reasons to do so. In “Prophyria’s Lover”, the speaker is faced with many types of insanity before, during, and after the murder of his wife, Prophyria because of the love he has for her.
...ll “And thus we sit together now, And all night long we have not stirred”. This allows the reader entry into the lover’s state of mind - he is clearly insane. Consequently, some critics believe that "Porphyria's Lover" was inspired by a murder that was described in gory detail when published in Blackwood's Magazine in 1818 by John Wilson, which was eighteen years before Browning wrote this poem. The story, "Extracts from Gosschen's Diary," is about a murderer who stabs his lover to death and describes her blonde hair and blue eyes in doting detail. This not only outlines that women are only considered convenient if docile and attractive but also that writers, including female writers, “were regularly found to have succumbed to the lure of stereotypical representations”. For those reasons, the private and the public are intimately interlinked and not wholly separate.
‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ are both poems by the Victorian poet Robert Browning. In this essay I will compare these two poems to find similarities and differences.
"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.
In “Sonnet 43,” Browning wrote a deeply committed poem describing her love for her husband, fellow poet Robert Browning. Here, she writes in a Petrarchan sonnet, traditionally about an unattainable love following the styles of Francesco Petrarca. This may be partly true in Browning’s case; at the time she wrote Sonnets from the Portuguese, Browning was in courtship with Robert and the love had not yet been consummated into marriage. But nevertheless, the sonnet serves as an excellent ...