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A poem in which the poet creates a picture of a corrupt figure is Porphyrias Lover by Robert Browning.

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Introduction

Critical Evaluation Porphyria?s Lover By Robert Browning Task-Choose a poem in which the poet creates a picture of a heroic or corrupt figure. Discuss the means by which the personality is clearly depicted. A poem in which the poet creates a picture of a corrupt figure is Porphyria?s Lover by Robert Browning. The poem written in 1837 is in the form of a dramatic monologue which helps to show the true nature of the corrupt sociopath. Throughout the poem Browning uses a series of literacy devices to help convey this idea. The form of the poem, dramatic monologue, is significant as the reader only ever experiences the speaker?s feelings and recollections of events. This forces the reader to doubt the narrator at various points throughout the poem. This form also leaves the reader believing that the situation is less straightforward than that being described. It is clear from the outset of the poem that the speaker in the poem is troubled. Through Browning?s use of pathetic fallacy in the first four lines of the poem he does not only illustrate the extreme weather conditions but also the speaker?s mind set: ?It tore the elm-tops down for spite? This effectively highlights the speakers?s bitterness due to Porphyria?s failure to appear for their arranged meeting. ...read more.

Middle

Another aspect of the poem which would have been somewhat shocking to a Victorian audience is the unusually sexual manner in which Porphyria next behaves. She removes her outdoor clothing, lets her hair hang lose, puts her arm around the narrator, positions his head on her bare shoulder then proceeds to declare her love for him. However the narrator?s reaction to this takes the reader by surprise. A dash is used to introduce a change in tone as the speaker begins to describe Porphyria in a negative light: ?Too weak, for all her heart?s endeavour? Here, Browning writes in an almost contemptuous tone. The narrator is disapproving as he believes that- although Porphyria wants nothing more than to be with him- she is unable to leave behind other ties in her life which are preventing her from being with the speaker forever. The narrator?s resentment towards these complications out-with his control is portrayed as resentment towards Porphyria and this sudden change in mood offers the first slight indication that the narrator is not mentally stable. At this point in the poem the reader does not know whether to trust all that the speaker is saying. ...read more.

Conclusion

This adds to the previous point of the speaker feeling emasculated, he is now not the one in control. Porphyria is no longer the strong Victorian woman that she was; she is now viewed as the speaker?s doll. His feelings towards them being together forever are now true in his eyes as he processes her. The reader is shocked at the brutality of the murder and the speaker?s casual nature towards the crime he has just committed. The narrator?s insanity and corruption is truly confirmed in the last line of the poem through a disturbing statement: ?And yet God has not said a word!? Here it is made clear the extent to which he believes what he did was acceptable and morally correct. He does not think ahead of this moment in time when he sits with Porphyria; he believes that as he has not been condemned by God his actions have been correct. This again justifies the murder as insignificant to him and effectively leaves the reader believing that the speaker is a corrupt figure who shows no guilt in what he has done. The speaker is devious and egotistical. Browning successfully created a poem which made the reader think about the incidents that are described. This is no love poem, it is about a psychopath. ...read more.

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