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Browning cleverly uses the narrative device of a dramatic monologue to portray his version of an Arthurian legend.

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Introduction

Browning cleverly uses the narrative device of a dramatic monologue to portray his version of an Arthurian legend. This form of writing can be extremely useful, as it is able to engage the reader through its continuous effect. Browning skilfully probes the nature of the character so that he reveals things about himself that he did not intend to disclose. In this way, this method reveals secrets, feelings and thoughts that would otherwise remain hidden. The reader is 'listening' to the tale and takes a role unlike the therapist; interpreting what is really being said. There is a certain pleasure in being able to see and understand this secret world that Browning himself cannot see. The poem seems to contain a more psychological approach; hence drawing the reader in. 'Roland' is somewhat more human, rather than the heroic knight. This is seen through the confusion and doubt in his mind, which has been demonstrated by the use of question marks and exclamation marks. These thought processes are merely tools to emphasise on this dramatic monologue. The middle section gradually builds tension and suspense. No doubt horror and disgust is felt at the thought of stamping on a 'dead man's cheek'. Browning also tends to use colloquial language from time to time. He uses it to discuss his fate, as 'then the trap shuts', sealing his fate, implying that he has an intimacy with his own fate. ...read more.

Middle

If 'the moon was full' it could be to exaggerate on its moon representations. It could be said that the characters are somewhat the most important aspect of the poem of portraying Arthurian legend. King Arthur is no less than the patriotic knight that Bedivere wishes to become. Arthur is a 'star of tournament', the more chivalrous one. Bedivere is far behind as he seems to have problems in obeying commands. His insecurity and fear of what the future holds gets in the way of becoming 'great'. However, we see a different Arthur being described in the 'shattered column'. We see Arthur as a human rather than a knight, seriously hurt and shattered, with the hope to go ' to the island-valley of Avilion'. The presence of the 3 queens introduces the feelings of love, charm and protection. Their grieving state emphasises on the importance of the loss of a great King. The lady of the lake is nonetheless, the most mystic statuesque. She reveals a perspective, which contrasts the strong atmosphere. In 'Childe Roland', Browning sets the scene in dark and cold settings and atmosphere. The dark tower immediately provokes the reader to feeling the presence of morbidity and death. Also the 'tall scapled mountain' portrays a strong sense of brutality. The mentioning of the 'serpants' and 'spumes' refers to a dark and gothic atmosphere, which is most disturbing. ...read more.

Conclusion

Furthermore, Arthur's retreat, also conjures up questions. The mediation of the death of Arthur somehow dangers the existence of his rules and ideas. His death makes the ritualistic means of the sword, power and Kingship extinct. It seems that the fate of the sword at what it achieves lies in the hands of Bedivere, who finally gathers the courage to discard it. Death, in Tennyson's tale is almost one of the main issues of the poem. We are faced with death as soon as we read the title; 'Morte d'Arthur', the death of Arthur. The Kings death symbolises and stands for a great deal in this tale. His death brings fear that English Christianity will die alongside him. Again we are faced with the moral issues of religion itself. The 'tombs of Kings' destines Arthur within a tradition of glorious Kings, who have died out of love for their country. Browning approaches the theme of death indirectly. We as readers do not encounter a death in the poem, but discloses the issue through the mentioning of the 'grim reaper' and the portrayal of the landscape. Again, Browning portrays a negative view of nature to get his ideas across. Unnaturally, Browning's nature is full of death and depression, a 'suicidal throng'. The image of the crow feeding off a corpse is utterly repulsive. The human is left vulnerable and has been spared no source of indignity in death. Overall, I feel that Browning seems to me to be the most modern writer. ...read more.

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