Consider the range of characterisation in Browning’s dramatic monologues and the poetic methods he employs to portray his speakers. Some are written in rhyming verse, use metaphors, et cetera, but for what reason? What is the writer trying to achieve and how successful is he?
Robert Browning (1812-1889) was an English poet noted for his mastery of dramatic monologue. He was born in London, the son of a wealthy clerk at the bank of England, he received scant formal education but had access to his father’s large library of about 6,000 volumes. Though initially unsuccessful as a poet and financially dependent on his family until well into adulthood Browning was to become a celebrated Victorian poet. In some of his finest works people from the past speak their thoughts and reveal their lives to the reader through the ……?
The poems I will be taking into account will be:
‘Porphyria’s Lover’ from Dramatic Lyrics, 1842
‘The Laboratory’, 1844
‘My last Duchess’, from Dramatic Lyrics, 1842
‘Andrea del Sarto’ from Men and Women, 1855
‘Fra Lippo Lippi’ from Men and Women, 1855
All these poems are presented from the viewpoint of an individual explaining their actions. The speakers all consider their actions justified, though only Fra Lippo Lippi has reason to explain himself to anyone.
These poems use different poetic methods to form the character of the speaker. The rhyme schemes vary from obvious, as in the rhyming couplets of ‘The Laboratory’, to subtle, as in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ to an absence of a rhyme scheme as in the blank verse of ‘Andrea del Sarto’. Also there are many uses of alliteration, assonance, enjambment and onomatopoeic words to draw our att...
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though Andrea is presumably referring to her curves and suppleness of youth the serpent is also widely recognised as a manipulative and deceitful. A true master of the arts would be expected to have a better imagination and grasp of imagery. This poem also particularly demonstrates Browning’s mastery of dramatic monologues as he has written in blank verse and written in the tone of a dull and lifeless man but still creates a deep dramatic monologue that reveals a lot more through it’s poetic methods employed in it than the speaker actually tells us. The way such different portrayals are formed of each character show us how successful Browning has been in using different poetic methods to convey each characterisation as a lot can be established simply from the rhythm and rhyme scheme of the poem and other poetic methods used before even analysing the speaker.
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