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Perspectives On Women In Browning's Poetry.

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Introduction

Perspectives On Women In Browning's Poetry One of the recurring themes in the poetry of Robert Browning, is that of woman, and it is this that I have chosen to focus on. In The first of the poems I have chosen to look at, Porphyria's Lover, Browning initially portrays the female character as the one with the power, although this in inevitably removed from her. In the opening lines of the poem: 'The rain set early in tonight, The sullen wind was soon awake' we gain a sense of forboding as the landscape of the poem seems to reflect the state of mind of the narrator, this is further explored in the next two lines where the speaker describes the weather as spiteful. All the narrator can do at this point in the poem is listen to the weather outside and he is completely helpless. 'I listened with heart fit to break.' However when Porphyria enters the poem, she alters the circumstances by replacing cold with warmth and seems completely unaffected by the weather even though it is she who has been out in it. ...read more.

Middle

Having done so, he is able to manipulate her rather than the other way around, and this is most apparent in the lines: 'I propped her head up as before, Only this time my shoulder bore Her head' Porphyria's lover has removed all her power and in this he is now in the position that she occupied before, and all possibility of a return to the previous order is removed: 'That all it scorned at once is fled, And I its love, am gained instead!' With her dead, Porphyria's lover feels able to maintain a feeling of security that he was not able to during her life. However, the final line of the poem is particularly interesting: 'And yet God has not said a word' This line suggests that Porphyrias love was expecting some sort of retribution from God which has not come, and in its absence is able to justify his actions, but at the same time it could be suggested that with the death of Porphyria, we also see the death of God. The second of Browning's poems I have chosen to look at is Women And Roses. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the third part of the poem Browning laments the women that will exist and that he will never see, this final set of women appear to be even more attractive to the poet: 'What is far conquers what is near.' These women are the most perfect in the poets eye as they are whatever his imagination is capable of creating, they are the perfect idealistic objectification. These women spring from the poet's imagination in the moment of the poem being written just as they will spring from the earth to which he has returned. 'I will make an Eve, be the artist that began her, Shaped her to his mind' In Porphyria's Lover and Women And Roses, Browning treats us to two very different poems where a woman or women are the main subject matter. However, in both poems we see that the ideal figure of woman is one who has passed or is yet to be born as then she is able to exist in the most perfect state possible, not that of a real person with flaws and free will, but in that of a pure fantasy. ...read more.

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