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Critical Appreciation: Porphyria’s Lover

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  • Essay length: 1107 words
  • Submitted: 11/07/2002
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GCSE Love Poetry

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IB Subsidiary English Mr. Bacon

Critical Appreciation: Porphyria's Lover

Roberto Thais

"Porphyria's Lover" is a Victorian poem written by Robert Browning and narrates the occasion in which a man strangles his lover to death as consequence of his rather special outlook on love, action catalysed by the climaxed situation they were both engaged in. The poem transmits an overall tone of honesty, as if it were a confession, factor clearly appreciated from the macabre detail in which the lyric voice describes the corpse: :"And I untightened next the tress/ About her neck: her cheek once more/ Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss" to the fact that we are being told the story the morning after, while the body is still lying on our narrator. This will help us understand the peculiar and unusual perspective Browning had on love and death.

The poem can be thematically separated into three sections, even though structurally the whole text corresponds to a single stanza, due to their content. The first section, the shortest one, describes the weather Porphyria is out before entering where her lover is. The second one narrates the encounter of the couple and the third

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